This is one recipe you want to make in a big batch. Bonus, it gets better as it ages. So when you need a burst of Sicilian summer goodness, just add a little caponata to crostini, chicken or your favourite sandwich.
Makes enough to serve four to six.
1 large eggplant, cut into one-inch chunks
2 onions, cut into 1/4-inch dice
pinch of crushed red pepper
3 ribs celery, cut into 1/2-inch dice
1 bulb fennel, cut into 1/2-inch dice
6 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1 red pepper, cut into 1/2-inch dice
1 yellow pepper, cut into 1/2-inch dice
2 zucchini, cut into 1/2-inch dice
2 tbsp sugar
1/3 cup red wine vinegar
1/2 cup tomato paste
1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted
1/4 cup golden raisins
1/2 cup large green Sicilian olives, pitted and slivered
2 tbsp capers
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
Put the eggplant in a large bowl and toss generously with olive oil and salt. Spread the eggplant in an even layer on a baking sheet, transfer to the oven and roast until soft and brown, 20 to 25 minutes. Remove from the oven and reserve.
Generously coat a large, wide, deep pot with olive oil. Toss in the onions and season with salt and crushed red pepper. Bring the pan to medium-high heat and cook until the onions are soft and very aromatic, five to six minutes. Add the celery and fennel, season with salt and cook until soft, seven to eight minutes. Toss in the garlic and cook for another two to three minutes.
Toss in the red and yellow bell peppers and cook for five to six minutes. Add the zucchini, stir to combine and cook until the zucchini softens, seven to eight more minutes. If the pot seems dry and is starting to burn, reduce the heat and add a few drops of olive oil and about 1/2 cup water. Toss in the roasted eggplant.
In a small bowl, dissolve the sugar in the vinegar and add to the pan. Stir in the tomato paste. Taste and adjust the seasoning if needed. The sugar and vinegar will make things tangy.
Toss in the pine nuts, raisins, olives, and capers and cook for another ten to twelve minutes. Add a little more water if the mixture seems dry, then taste to make sure everything is delicious. Let cook and serve at room temperature.