You know how popular, older TV shows are getting rebooted left and right nowadays? Will & Grace, Roseanne, Queer Eye… and there’s more to come. So I thought I’d reboot one of the classic features on my blog. A silly – I mean wonderful – little game called “What’s in the Crockpot?” that I used to play frequently with my readers.
The rules are simple. Just guess what’s in the crockpot! Are you ready?
What’s in the crockpot?
Crockpot Caponata is in the crockpot!
Did you win?
Caponata is a warm, eggplant-based vegetable salad from Sicily. It can actually be served warm or cold, and in this case, I served it warm, at a little get-together. My recipe was inspired by a Better Homes & Gardens recipe, but I made some changes, mostly based on what I had in my house and to take out the added sugar.
I actually started the night before, with the task of peeling pearl onions. I love pearl onions, but have only bought them frozen before, when they’ve already been peeled. I thought that peeling fresh ones would be a pain in the you-know-what (*cough*ass*cough*), but it wasn’t that bad. I just dropped them in boiling water for 45 seconds, scooped them out, trimmed off the ends with a knife, and squeezed them, and the onions popped right out. (I learned that tip from the carton the pearl onions came in.)
The onions went into the fridge, and I pulled them out the next day, and tossed them in the crockpot, alongside a bunch of vegetables that I had to chop.
- 1 eggplant, medium-to-large, chopped
- 6 roma tomatoes, chopped
- 2 yellow squash, chopped
- 4 stalks celery, chopped
- One 12-ounce package fresh pearl onions, peeled.
(I tried to chop the veggies so all the pieces were roughly the same size, so they’d cook evenly.)
I also added:
- 1/2 bunch parsley (flat leaf), minced. I reserved a few tablespoons for the very end, for a pop of bright green color just before serving.
- 1/2 cup raisins
- 4 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- salt and pepper
Once everything is in the crock, just let it cook! 3 hours on high, or 6 hours on low.
Just before serving, I added:
- 1/2 cup green olives, pitted, chopped
- 4 tablespoons capers
- the aforementioned reserved minced parsley.
One more quick stir, to incorporate the new ingredients, and voila! You’re done!
Lots of flavor in this simple dish! The veggies have different textures, with bits of sweetness and brininess, from the raisins and capers, respectively.
And you can switch this up pretty easily. Used canned tomatoes and make it more stew-like. Swap out yellow squash for zucchini, or the pearl onions for shallots. Instead of raisins, try chopped dates or prunes. Endless variations!
This was a big hit at the get-together, and a couple people asked for the recipe. (I’ll send them the link to this blog.) Even so, there was lots of leftovers (this recipe makes a lot), and it made for delicious, guilt-free eating the next day. And it’s as tasty cold as it is warm!
Keep it up, David!
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