Caponata is a great dish for practicing your knife skills because there is a lot of chopping. Concentrate on getting all your pieces a similar size. It's also a good way to enjoy winter vegetables in a different way. The olives and capers give it that great Mediteranean flavor.
1 cup olive oil, for frying, plus more if needed
3 medium eggplants, cut into small dice
3 small green zucchini, quartered and cut into 1/4-inch pieces
3 small yellow squash, quartered and cut into 1/4-inch pieces
2 onions, chopped 1/4-inch pieces
6 celery ribs, cut into 1/4-inch slices
3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1 1/2 cups red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons sugar
1 cup roasted red peppers, thinly sliced
1 cup kalamata olives, pitted and chopped
1 cup capers
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves
2 tablespoons chopped fresh oregano leaves
2 cups prepared marinara sauce
When you make a caponata you want to cook each vegetable individually in a very hot saute pan over a medium-high heat with a bit of olive oil. After each vegetable is cooked crisp tender, set it in a large bowl. Put a little more oil in the pan and cook the next vegetable adding it to the bowl until you have all the vegetables are done. Cook the onions and garlic together.
Make the "agrodolce":
Combine vinegar and sugar in a small saucepan and reduce by half over medium-high heat for 3 to 4 minutes.
While vegetables are still warm, combine with the roasted peppers, olives, and capers. Pour the "agrodolce" vinegar over the vegetable mixture and toss to coat. Add salt and pepper to taste. Add the chopped herbs and marinara sauce and stir.
Serve the caponata at room temperature.
Caponata goes very well with roasted meats.
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