Eggplant is the star of Caponata, a cooked Sicilian salad. Our favourite is the version from Naples, Italy called Cianfatta, which makes use of the salty, briny deliciousness of capers and olives. Zucchini, red pepper, basil and currants are added for a final dish that sparkles with sweet, sour and salty delights.
Caperberries are fun to use in place of regular capers. Both come from the same plant but the berries are larger and can be sliced into thin rounds. Their inner flesh is reminiscent of a ripe fig and they look beautiful scattered among the bright green zucchini and dark purple eggplant. This is a nice winter salad because it isn’t served cold, but is best served at room temperature. With a pasta aglio e olio it makes the perfect dinner.
1 Italian eggplant, medium cube
2 regular zucchini, medium cube
red wine vinegar
1/4 cup currants
dozen green olives, pitted and chopped
3-4 caperberries, sliced into rounds
1/2 a red pepper, small dice
- Heat Â a saute pan and saute the eggplant in batches, never overcrowding so you get some nice brown colour on it. Cook the eggplant thoroughly until it’s soft, it takes a bit longer to cook. You will have to keep adding more oil as the eggplant really sucks it up, but just add a drizzle at a time.
- Put the cooked eggplant in mixing bowl.
- Do the same with the zucchini but don’t cook it as long, just give it some colour and toss it in the bowl with the eggplant where it can finish cooking.
- Now add olives, caperberries, currants and red pepper.
- Add a few teaspoons of red wine vinegar and season with salt and pepper, taste it. Can you taste the slight hit of vinegar? If not add a bit more.
- If the salad looks dry, don’t worry and don’t add any olive oil there is enough in there already.
- Toss with some torn basil leaves and cover.
- Let sit for a bit to let all those flavours mingle, then serve at room temperature.