Caponata is a healthy and hearty dish for brunch. This vegetarian dish is made with eggplant, celery, tomatoes, red onion and mint. It's easy to make a large batch of caponata and save it for the week.
Caponata isn't traditionally thought of as a brunch dish, but it is a wonderful and hearty way to start the day. This vegetarian dish originates from Italy, and is often served as either a cold appetizer, a warm side dish, or even on top of pasta. I've decided to serve it on top of a rustic sourdough for a hearty and healthy brunch packed with flavor. It's delicious and completely satisfying as a breakfast, but if you need a way to make it feel more breakfast-y, you could always add a poached or fried egg on top. Without the egg, the dish is vegan-friendly.
It's easy to feed a crowd with this dish, or you could do what we did here -- cook enough for a crowd, but don't tell anyone about the magic happening in the kitchen. Once it's done, divide the caponata into small portions to save. We put some portions in the refrigerator for the next couple of days, and the remaining portions in the freezer to save for longer.
Cooking this caponata ahead of time and saving them in individual portions is a great way to be able to have a quick and hearty breakfast (or any other meal for that matter) everyday during the week.
While caponata is very easy to make, it does require chopping a lot of vegetables! The star vegetable in caponata is eggplant (aubergine), and the dish is supported by celery, plum tomatoes, red onions, garlic and mint. So put on some Taylor Swift, get your favorite knives out and get chopping.
You can see my new Edge of Belgravia knives in the photo above. The London-based company sent me a set of their Precision Knives and a Black Diamond Knife Block to try. They are bold and artistic, and having a full set of knives means I can always use the right blade for the right task. To support the local designer, I'm hosting a giveaway for you to win your own set of Precision Knives AND a Black Diamond Knife Block (combined RRP £170)! They will be sold at Selfridges this Christmas, but get yours first here.
- 3 medium eggplants (aubergines)
- 6 celery sticks - with the strings removed and cut on the diagonal into 1-inch (2-cm) pieces
- 2 medium red onions - cut into thin wedges
- 3 ¼ pounds plum tomatoes - cut into 1 ½-inch pieces
- 3 garlic cloves - chopped
- ½ cup red wine vinegar
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- sea salt and black pepper - to taste
- 1 handful fresh mint leaves
- Remove the stems from the eggplants and cut into large chunks of about 1 ½-inch (3-cm). Heat a large heavy pan with about ½-inch (1-cm) of cooking olive oil on medium heat. Add in half the eggplant pieces and fry until golden brown. Remove from the oil and set aside. Repeat with the remaining eggplants. The eggplant pieces may soak up the oil, and if so, increase the heat.
- In the same pan, heat the celery and onion on medium heat until they are soft and shiny. Remove from heat, and add in the aubergine, tomatoes, chopped garlic, red wine vinegar and sugar. Give everything a good stir.
- Preheat the oven to 320°F/160°C. Transfer everything into a large roasting pan and roast until the tomatoes have softened and are almost disintegrating, about 1 hour. Add the mint leaves, stir everything together, and add salt and pepper to taste.
- Serve warm on a slice of toast.