Although this dish is a well-known Italian appetizer available in restaurants and in cans in the supermarket, relatively few people know that this dish is actually a traditional Jewish Sabbath dish brought to Italy in 1492 when the Jews fled Spain. The high content of vinegar and sugar preserves the mixture so it will last a very long time in your refrigerator if it is not all gobbled up immediately! Speaking of gobble, try some on a turkey sandwich.
- 2 eggplants-each 8 inches long
- 1 1/4 cup olive oil
- 2 large onions
- 1 6-ounce can tomato paste
- 1 ounce drained capers
- 2 Tablespoons sugar
- 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
- 1 large clove garlic, minced
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Wash the eggplants, cut off the ends, and cut into 1/2-inch cubes.
- Heat a 4 quart pot for 20 seconds. Add the oil and heat for another 15 seconds. Add the eggplant cubes and fry in the oil until the cubes are soft and particles on bottom of pan are golden. The eggplant will absorb the oil at first and then the oil will be released. Remove the eggplant with a slotted spoon and place in a bowl. Leave remaining oil in the pot.
- Dice the onion in 1/2-inch dice and then fry in the above oil until the onions are slightly golden and soft.
- Return the eggplant to the pot and add the remaining ingredients. Cook for 20 minutes over low heat until the flavors are well blended. Stir occasionally.
- Serve warm, at room temperature or cold. The Caponata lasts for weeks in the refrigerator and always tastes better the longer it sits.