Caponata is a Sicilian dish of sauteed eggplant and aromatics with tomatoes, olives, raisins, and capers. Great with bread, leftovers hold well.
Let’s talk about photography.
Specifically, food photography. I have definitely honed my skills over the almost 5 years I’ve been writing this blog. I have gotten reasonably comfortable shooting with natural light, and I have a setup that works for me with an end table in my living room that is positioned right beside a window. In the summer, I know I can put food there and the pictures will look good well into the afternoon. Things get a little dicey in the winter. In the winter in Wisconsin, the sun goes down early, and my window for shooting with natural light narrows dramatically. I often find my way around this by cooking in the morning, and taking photos in the early afternoon. But that doesn’t always work. Sometimes I have to resort to artificial light. I have 2 photography lights that my husband bought me for Christmas one year. I’m not comfortable with them. Admittedly, it’s probably because I haven’t had as much experience with them. These photos were taken with those artificial lights. I’m still not sure how I feel about them. I’d love to share any artificial light/working around natural light in the winter tips that you might have.
Now, on to the Caponata.
I will be the first to admit that I’m not the world’s biggest eggplant fan. Or at least I didn’t used to be. A few foods have changed my opinion about the purple veggie – like Baba Ghanouj, a grilled eggplant gyro from one of my fave local restaurants, and this Caponata. Eggplant doesn’t really taste like much on it’s own, which is probably why I didn’t used to like it. But when you cook it with super flavorful ingredients like onions, garlic, olives, capers, and raisins, it takes on all those flavors and turns into something special.
This savory, salty, and slightly sweet mixture of veggies can be served over pasta, rice, or any other cooked grain. But my favorite way to eat it is spooned on top of fresh bread (I made foccacia in this case, which is shown in the photos). I think it’s even better the next day, after the flavors have a chance to meld.
- 1/4 cup raisins
- 2 Tablespoons olive oil
- 1 large red onion, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 1/2 pounds eggplant, cut into 1/2 inch pieces (about 6 cups)
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 10 ounces tomatoes, chopped (about 1 cup)
- 8 ounces pimento or garlic stuffed green olives, chopped coarse
- 2 Tablespoons capers
- Pour hot water over raisins to cover by at least 1 inch. Soak for at least 10 minutes, or up to several hours. Drain.
- Heat olive oil in a dutch oven over medium heat. Add onions and saute until translucent, about 5-7 minutes. Stir in garlic and oregano and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.
- Stir in eggplant and salt and cook until eggplant is softened, about 10 minutes. Add tomatoes, olives, capers, and raisins. Cook until heated through. Serve hot or at room temperature over rice or pasta, or with bread. Tastes even better the next day after flavors have melded.
Caponata Nutrition Notes:
Serve with a cooked grain like pasta, rice, or quinoa or with bread. You could also serve with some cooked legumes like chickpeas to add some protein to your meal.