Caponata is a flavorful, sweet-sour Sicilian cooked salad composed of eggplant, onions, tomatoes, garlic, herbs, olive oil and vinegar. It’s subject to as many variations as there are cooks who prepare it. Typically served as an antipasto, salad side dish or condiment relish, caponata is often made with olives, anchovies and capers, depending on the menu.
This version by my assistant Heather Behm--which includes zucchini and pine nuts--works well with simple roasted or grilled meats. It’s perfect as an omelet filling. Add anchovies, fresh basil and Parmesan for a pasta topping. Try it with olives and fresh basil in lasagna or as a simple casserole, sprinkled with mozzarella cheese, baked until browned and sizzling hot. Turn it into a dip, coarsely chopped in the food processor, served chilled with tortilla chips. With the addition of capers, it also makes a tasty garnish for grilled fish, poultry and veal.
Here’s an idea, too, for a one-dish, spicy shrimp meal.