Classic Caponata

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Celebrate your garden’s (or local farmers’ market’s) bounty with this incredibly flavorful and aromatic, one skillet dish.  It is usually served as an accompaniment to an entrée, but I could happily make this the main event of my meal any day.  Interestingly, the first time I made it, I served it to someone who didn’t like eggplant, or olives, or caperberries, or so he thought.  Then he helped himself to a generous second portion.  This is a simple dish, without crazy seasonings, unfamiliar ingredients, or advanced cooking techniques.   The soft flesh and natural flavors of all the fresh, ripe, vegetables become the stars of the show, and paired with the salty brine of Mill Press Pitted Black Olives and Caperberries, it all “simply “melts in your mouth.


Prep Time:  1 hour (it’s worth it, I promise!)

Cook Time:  45 minutes

Serves:  6-8



1½ pound eggplant (large), unpeeled

4 Tbls your favorite Gustare Extra Virgin Varietal Olive Oil, divided

2C sweet yellow onion, chopped (1 large)

3 stalks celery, diced (inner, tender stalks are best)

4 large garlic cloves

3C red peppers, diced (2 large)

½ tsp 1830 Sea Salt, plus more to season eggplant

18-20 oz ripe Roma tomatoes, peeled, seeded, chopped

¼C Mill Press Caperberries, drained, rinsed, and halved

¼C Mill Press Pitted Black Olives, drained and coarsely chopped

1 Tbls plus 1/8 tsp sugar

3 Tbls Gustare Barbaresco Barrel-Aged Wine Vinegar

Freshly ground pepper



  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  Brush sheet tray with your favorite Gustare Varietal Olive Oil, and set aside.
  2. Cut eggplant into 1 inch pieces. Toss in 2T of your olive oil, and season with 1830 Sea Salt and freshly ground pepper.  Spread in single layer on prepared sheet tray and roast 25 minutes, or until browned and tender, stirring halfway through.  Set aside to cool. 
  3. Meanwhile, peel tomatoes (see note).
  4. Heat 1Tbls of olive oil  in skillet over medium heat. Add celery and garlic.  Cook 1-2 minutes, until garlic becomes aromatic. 
  5. Add peppers and ½ tsp sea salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until just tender, approximately 8 minutes. 
  6. Add remaining 1Tbls of olive oil to skillet, followed by the eggplant. Cook and stir another 5 minutes, until all vegetables are tender and eggplant softens and begins to break apart.
  7. Add tomatoes with 1/8 tsp sugar to skillet. Cook and stir 5-10 minutes, until tomatoes cook down.  Scrape bottom of skillet as necessary.
  8. Add caperberries, black olives, the remaining 1T sugar, and wine vinegar. Reduce heat to medium low and cook a final 10 minutes, stirring frequently, to allow all vegetables to thoroughly soften and mixture to thicken. 
  9. Finish with freshly ground pepper. Chill overnight to allow flavors to develop further.  Enjoy at room temperature.

Note:  How to easily peel tomatoes:  Prepare a bowl of ice water and keep close at hand.  Use paring knife to pierce a small x on each end of the tomatoes.  Bring water to boil in sauce pot.  Drop in tomatoes and boil 30 seconds, making sure they are fully submerged.  Remove and quickly dunk in ice water to shock.  Skin will curl momentarily and peel off manually.