Sausage Caponata

California wines perfect pair: Eggplant caponata with spicy sausage

If red wine is your style, try this eggplant caponata with spicy sausage, salty olives and capers, sweet currants, tart wine vinegar and lots of onions, garlic and tomatoes makes a sweet and savory spread to slather on toasted bread. Served warm or room temperature, this appetizer can easily be made a day ahead so that you are as cool, calm and collected as the wine in your glass.

This crowd-pleasing appetizer is just the thing to pair with our featured selection of California Wines.

Caponata


*Start to finish: 45 minutes
*Hands on time: 25 minutes

Sweet, sour, salty and savory, caponata hits all the points on the flavor meter. For an extra nice presentation, grill olive-oil-drizzled bread until toasty and allow your guests to pile the tasty topping on themselves. You could serve this dish with any wine you like, but a fruity Zinfandel from Sonoma or red blend from Monterey would be extra nice.

It’s that easy: For the best eggplant, look for small specimens no larger than 12-inches long as they will be sweeter and less dry. No need to peel them. Just slice and dice away.

CaponataIngredients:

  • 1/3 cup pine nuts
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/2-pound spicy Italian sausage, crumbled
  • 1 cup diced red onion
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 1/2-pounds eggplant, diced
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flake
  • 6 plum tomatoes, quartered seeded and sliced into strips
  • 1/4 cup golden raisins
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup chopped Italian parsley plus more for sprinkling
  • 1/4 cup orange juice
  • 10 Kalamata olives, pitted and chopped
  • 2 tablespoons capers, rinsed and drained
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • Toasted bread or pita rounds as an accompaniment

Add the pine nuts to a large skillet and heat over medium heat until they begin to brown. Give them a toss and continue to cook for another minute or so until they are golden. Tip them out onto a plate and return the skillet to the heat.

Increase the heat to medium-high and add the olive oil and Italian sausage to the skillet. Cook stirring and breaking up the large chunks of sausage until they are no longer pink. Add the onions and garlic and cook for about 3 minutes or until the onion is soft. Add the eggplant, salt and pepper and red pepper flake and cook stirring until the eggplant is soft, about 4 minutes.

Add the tomatoes, raisins, vinegar, parsley, orange juice, olives, capers and brown sugar and cook, stirring every now and then over medium-low heat until the tomatoes have softened and the mixture is thick, about 10 minutes. Remove the caponata from the heat and allow it to cool. Sprinkle with extra parsley and serve at room temperature with toasted bread as an accompaniment.

Make-ahead: The caponata is delicious made a day ahead and refrigerated overnight. Let warm up on the counter for 1 hour before serving at room temperature or reheat to serve warm.

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Carla Snyder
Posted by: Carla Snyder
Carla has spent the past 30 years in the food world as a caterer, artisan baker, cooking school teacher, food writer and author of 6 cook books including the James Beard nominated Big Book of Appetizers. Her passion is sharing fresh, cooked-from-scratch weeknight meals that cut prep time and practically eliminate that nightly sink full of dishes. Look for Carla on Facebook, Twitter (carlacooks), Pinterest and at ravenouskitchen.com where she blogs about everything from cooking for two to easy weekend entertaining for a crowd.

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