Caponata is a dish my mother-in-law made during our last visit to France, where she lives. If you haven’t tried it before, caponata is a cooked vegetable salad with eggplant. Honestly, I don’t remember all of the ingredients but I recall eggplant, olives and peppers. Most importantly, I remember how much we all loved it!
For a weekend get together at my house, I was planning the menu and suddenly thought of her caponata. Instead of making a salad, I made my own version of caponata on a stick for an appetizer. This was easy to put on the grill for a few minutes before we started grilling the main course.
While preparing the eggplant for this appetizer, I sliced it and sprinkled salt on both sides of each slice. After a few minutes the eggplant begins to sweat. This removes the bitterness, making the eggplant much more pleasant to eat. If you’re going to be making any dish with eggplant, this is a must try!
My other half makes an eggplant gratin with tomatoes that is on my list of favorite comfort foods. Also on that list is his mom’s caponata and eggplant caviar, which is a dip or spread that is delicious on grilled crostini. These skewers are going on our favorites list. The kids tried these and agreed that these remind us all of Mamy’s caponata.
My mother-in-law is a vegetarian and there was a time in my life when I thought vegetables were not anything I’d eat by choice. Fortunately I’ve changed my mind since then and I absolutely love vegetarian dishes, especially when they’re made by someone very special to me. I wonder what she’d think of my version of caponata?
I can’t wait for you to give these a try! The number of skewers will depend on the size of the eggplant. I make a few without each of the ingredients. For example, a few without onions and an extra tomato and a few without eggplant and an extra piece of onion. This gives options for guests with different preferences.
Caponata on a Stick Recipe
- 1 Eggplant
- 1 Sweet Onion large
- 6 Cherry Tomatoes
- Green Olives preferably with the pits removed
- 0.5 Olive Oil
- 1 Finely Chopped Basil
- If using wooden skewers, begin by soaking them in water for at least 20 minutes.
- Slice the ends off the eggplant. Cut into rounds, approximately one inch thick.
- Lay the eggplant slices on a baking sheet and sprinkle finely ground salt on both sides. let them rest for 10-15 minutes.
- While the eggplant is resting, peel the onion and slice.
- Cut onion slices into square-like chunks. The way I make them, 3-4 pieces go on each skewer. You can put as many onion pieces on each skewer depending on what you prefer.
- Cut the cherry tomatoes in half.
- Strain the liquid and set the green olives in a bowl and set aside.
- Heat about 1/2 cup olive oil on the stove.
- Add basil to a small heat safe bowl.
- Once oil is hot, carefully pour the oil over the chopped basil.
- Dab both sides of the eggplant slices dry with a paper towel or clean tea towel.
- Set them on a dry cutting surface and cut into one inch squares, or as close to a square as possible since this is a round vegetable.
- Begin to assemble your skewers, layering them however you like. I loaded one piece of eggplant, onion and tomato on each skewer for the most part. Change it up if you’ll have guests who dislike one of the ingredients.
- Lightly brush the olive oil on each of the skewers. I like to do this before they are cooked but don’t grill them directly over the heat to avoid flare ups.
- Grill for 2-3 minutes on each side or until the eggplant is tender. This time will vary depending on the temperature of your grill.
- After they are done to your liking, lightly brush on a little more olive oil.
- Add one olive to each skewer.
- Serve immediately.