Caponata I’ll call this caponata for the sake of the search engines but in our dialect it’s gabaladine. It’s a standard component of any good antipasto. This is my Aunt’s recipe which she passed on to my daughter Kristina. My sister Nicki precisely measured all of the ingredients so I’ll turn it over to her.
Her given name was Celeste; we called her Aunt Tootsie, Grandma called her “Toots”. Aunt Tootsie lived with Grandma her whole life (even after she married, twice). Living with Grandma had its advantages for her because she cooked just like Grandma, which was excellent. We would go “over the river and through the woods to Grandmother’s house”, which was in Brooklyn for a holiday or special occasion and Aunt Tootsie did all the cooking under Grandma’s supervision. She always had the phonograph on, singing along with Jimmy Roselli and Louis Prima. She would belt out, “Ti voglio bene” at any given moment. Here is her recipe for caponata.
- 1 eggplant, unpeeled and cubed
- ¾ cup olive oil
- 2 red bell peppers, sliced
- 2 medium onions, sliced
- 4 stalks celery, cut into 1/4″ pieces
- 2 tablespoons capers
- ½ cup pignoli (pine nuts)
- ¼ cup red wine vinegar
- ½ pound Kalamata olives (pitted and halved)
- ¼ cup tomato paste
- ½ cup water
- 2 tablespoons Sugar
- Fry the eggplant in 1/2 cup of olive oil in a large frying pan. Cook until brown and set pan aside.
- Add 2 tablespoons of the remaining oil to another pan and sauté the red peppers until tender then add it to the pan with the eggplant.
- Add the remaining olive oil to the pan and sauté the onions and celery until soft.
- Add the capers and give it a quick mix with the vegetables.
- Add the tomato paste, sugar, water and vinegar. Simmer for 15 minutes. Add to the eggplant and peppers.
- Add the pignoli nuts and olives and cook for 5 minutes, stir to blend the flavors.
- Note that salt is not included in this recipe. The capers and olives are salty. When it is cooked – TASTE and then add salt and pepper to taste.
- Cool before serving. Caponata will keep for 2 weeks in the refrigerator. I’m sure it will not be in the refrig for that long. It is so delicious it will not be left over.