I love caponata! It is a summery, sweet and sour mix of Italian deliciousness. I rarely make it, and whenever I do I wonder why I don’t make it more often. Yesterday I saw some beautiful local eggplants and decided not only to make a batch of caponata, but to make it in my slow cooker! If you’ve been reading this blog for a while you already know that I am new to the slow cooker, I got my first one as a birthday gift last March, and have had limited success with it. And if you know me at all, you know I am determined to master this appliance!
Caponata seems like the perfect thing to slow cook. I even found some recipes on line for it. I really like the recipe I have always used which is from The Frog Commissary Cookbook . Like many old traditional recipes there are many versions; some have raisins, some zucchini, some include anchovies, and some don’t. Here is my version of caponata based on the Frog recipe. What was helpful in looking at those slow cooker recipes, was the time and temperature I’ll use, and when to add which ingredients.
My copy of the Frog cookbook is in pretty bad shape. When I ran a catering business from my apartment on the Upper West Side of NYC it was my bible! My family came by the book when my not yet brother-in-law gave us all copies of the book His sister Amy was working at the Frog, and he thought we would enjoy the book, and we all have. Before I buy a cookbook I look to see how many recipes there are that I know I’d make. If there aren’t at least four or five that I can’t wait to make I don’t buy it. I have regularly made at least twenty recipes from this one.
One of the things I love about caponata is how versatile it is. It is a great appetizer with crackers, a relish, a topping for pasta—hot or cold, and makes a great sandwich! I hope you decide it’s worth the little bit of effort it takes. I will also add that though I have linked the recipe, there is no need to be literal with the measurements, or the cutting. You can chop those tomatoes in the food processor, just don’t puree them. You can add zucchini, and/or green peppers, leave out the raisins, add carrots, make it vegan by omitting the anchovies, and use even less oil than I did.
It also makes a great gift, if perhaps last weekend your neighbor out of the blue gave you some freshly baked berry scones… it could happen.