Hi everyone! Jon here, owner and innkeeper at the Old Caledonian Bed & Breakfast. Hope your summer is going as well as ours here at the OCBB. We have met so many great new people and have welcomed back a lot of returning guests!
Our new amenities here at the B&B have been a big hit:
- Sunday morning yoga with Anna-Marie has received raves from our guests and from members of the community. We are working on adding even more yoga classes, so keep an eye on our Facebook page for updates.
- Even in the summer heat, people have been loving the sauna and the outdoor cold-water shower.
- Our new in-room amenities, like aromatherapy, have people raving. Oh—and we’ve just added bidets to every guest bath.
- Our plant-based dinners still continue to impress. Good news—you can now add dinner, or a bottle of wine, right from our website when you book!
Summer also means great produce for incredible recipes! I’m sharing one of my all-time favorites—Eggplant Caponata, a sweet and sour Italian eggplant spread that, since it’s served at room temperature, makes for a perfect summer appetizer or side dish using seasonal ingredients.
I grew up eating all sorts of variations of Caponata made by my grandparents, aunts, and cousins; and the one I’m sharing below with you today combines all the best traits of a perfect Caponata. I love the sweet and sour balance from the tomatoes and vinegar, the slight crunch of the celery, and the perfect pairing of olives and roasted eggplant.
Let us know how your Caponata turns out! Happy summer and we hope to see you here at the Old Caledonian Bed & Breakfast.
Makes about 1 quart
- 1 large eggplant
- Olive oil for sautéing
- 1 medium onion
- 2 stalks celery, sliced thin
- 4 cloves garlic, sliced thin
- 2 red bell peppers, or 1 regular jar of roasted red peppers, diced
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1 lb roma tomatoes peeled and seeded, or 1 fourteen oz can good quality crushed tomatoes
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 3 T capers, rinsed
- 3 T pitted kalamata olives, coarsely chopped
- 2 T sugar
- ½ tsp crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
- 3 T red wine vinegar
- 1 T chopped flatleaf parsley
Preheat the oven to 350. Pierce the eggplant in several places with fork, place on a parchment-lined baking sheet, and roast until softened and partially deflated, about 40-50 minutes. Set aside to cool. Once cool, chop into one inch pieces.
In a large, heavy skillet (I use cast iron, but nonstick works very well), heat a bit of oil, about 2 T, over medium heat. Add the onions and celery, and sauté until the onion is softened and translucent.
Add the garlic and cook until fragrant.
Add the peppers. Cook a bit and add a dash of salt—this will extract some of the water from the peppers.
Once the water subsides, add a bit more oil and the eggplant. Cook until eggplant breaks apart a bit and starts to create a nice, thickened texture, about 5 minutes.
Add the tomatoes, the oregano, and another dash of salt. Cook until the tomatoes cook down to make the mixture thicken again, about 5 minutes.
Add the capers, olives, sugar, pepper flakes, and vinegar. Lower the heat to medium-low and cook for another 15-20 minutes until the celery is pleasantly tender (I like it just a bit al dente), and the mixture smells great, is pleasantly and spreadably thick, and has a nice sweet and sour taste.
Season with salt and pepper.
Remove from heat, stir in the parsley, and allow to cool to room temperature, at which your Caponata is best served. Serve with hot, crusty Italian bread, or with pasta, or on a sandwich—wherever you like! Caponata is very versatile and delicious. Enjoy!