Waaaaaay back in 1981, I was watching Eyewitness News. Bob Lape did a segment on the new recipe book that was benefiting the American Cancer Society. He was making one of the dishes from the cookbook with Matilda Cuomo, who has a few recipes in the book and was the Campaign Chairman at the time. Whatever they were making, looked delicious so I ordered the cookbook.
I remember reading it like a novel, page by page, sticking in little pieces of paper for the recipes that I wanted to try.
I have a bad habit of trying a new recipe whenever we have company over. I don't know why I do that because it can be risky. Maybe I actually have a daring side to me!
One of those recipes was for Caponata. Our parents and Grandparents were coming over to spend the day with us to see their new Grandaughter (Great Grandaughter). I made the Caponata. My Grandmother LOVED it!
And I mean SHE LOVED IT!!
For the next 20 or so years, Nanny would always request that I make that. Her eyesight was very bad and couldn't follow a recipe anymore or even cook much so she relied on me. That was fine! I loved watching her eat it. She didn't gobble, she savored it!
It's been a few years now since I made it so that had to change. I made it again last week when Brooke was home. It instantly brought back memories of Nanny, parking her chair right up next to the Caponata, and enjoying herself!
Caponata (Eggplant Appetizer)
1/3 c. olive oil
3 c peeled and cubed eggplant
1/3 c diced green pepper (I sometimes use red peppers)
3/4 c sliced mushrooms
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
1 (6 oz) can of tomato paste
1/4 c water
2 TBSP wine vinegar
1/2 c sliced pimento-stuffed green olives
1 1/2 ts sugar
1 ts. oregano
2 TBSP capers
1 ts salt
1/4 ts pepper
In a large skillet, place the olive oil, eggplant, green or red pepper, onions, mushrooms and garlic. Cover and cook gently about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Next, add the tomato paste, water, vinegar, olives, sugar, oregano, capers, salt and pepper. Mix well and let simmer, covered, until eggplant is tender, about 30 minutes. Chill. Serve with crackers.
**I usually make this a day ahead of time so the flavors can meld but also to make my party day easier.