Summer’s End Caponata Pizza

caponata pizzaI know it sounds a bit gloomy to pop ‘summer’s end’ into the title, but it does seem appropriate. September is nigh, and unless you are of a southern hemisphere persuasion, autumn is here in all but name.

I may be a bit of a weirdo but I quite like autumn. I like its colours,  textures and tastes: bumpy, rough apples with their creamy sweet-sharp flesh; prickly brambles, daring you to pluck their dark treasures; kale – proud and tall – emerald leaves fanned like peacocks. Even the air is different – better – tinged as it is with illicit bonfires and hints of vegetal decay. All seasons have their plus points: who can’t say that spring, with its shyly peeking plants and lengthening days isn’t welcome? But, at least here in the UK, early autumn is the best of all seasons – fresh food in abundance, dry warm-ish days and nights finally cool enough to sleep through. Unless you wake up with loads of crazy ideas that is.

caponata pizzaAt this time of year my mind runs riot with ideas for all of the produce that is now saturating the markets and stores. And of course, all of you allotmenteers and farmers are working furiously to harvest your crops before they return to the ground. There is just so much choice that I feel almost dizzy with thoughts and inspiration. Although it doesn’t take much to make me dizzy these days, to be honest. Turning my head too quickly has the same effect.

Anyway, it is not uncommon for me to sit up in the middle of the night and jot down ideas about what I might make in the kitchen. I don’t always get around to realising these ideas – they may be rubbish in the cold light of day, or I haven’t the time – but the other day I made one of my nocturnal imaginings. Once made, I found out the caponata pizza idea is not original. Why I thought using caponata as a pizza topping might have the faintest prospect of being original, I do not know. But who cares, it is quite good. And caponata is a colourful and nutritious way of using late summer produce. I have a slower-cooked recipe for it that you might like to try, but I have included a somewhat quicker version for topping today’s pizza.

And another good thing about autumn?  The end of bathing suit weather! Woo hoo! *hauls out oversized sweaters from under the bed*

What is YOUR favourite thing about autumn?

caponata pizzaCaponata Pizza

Last year: Pan-fried Hake with Brown Shrimp and Caper-Butter Sauce

Two years ago: Lemony Courgette and Fine Bean tagliatelle with Herbed Creme Fraiche

Miss R’s Track of the Week: Love IlluminationFranz Ferdinand are back!!! Retro-poptastic. Can’t believe Alex Kapranos is 41.

This is what I like to make when we have leftover caponata – either from one of my summer nutrition workshops, or when I make it for my family. If for some reason you haven’t any leftover caponata (!), I give you a quicker and less-voluminous version of my traditional, slower-cooked one. My original caponata recipe is a bit lower-fat as the eggplant is steamed. 

Feel free to add any other likely summer vegetables to the caponata that seem compatible – summer squash springs to mind (some fresh squash tops the pizza). And of course it is up to you whether you make or buy your pizza crust. But a hint: this will be even better if you pre-bake the crust and then dollop on warm or room temperature toppings for a brief spell in a hot oven. Some good brands of pizza bases come ready-baked.

Makes two personal sized pizzas or one family pizza

2 heaped cups caponata – approximate (see below)

1 small summer/yellow squash, thinly sliced

¼  pack of halloumi cheese, thinly sliced OR mozzarella

Fresh oregano, chopped

Olive oil

2 baked pizza crusts (your own, mine or bought)

1. Preheat the oven to 200C/400F.

2. For each pizza base spread over the caponata and top with slices of halloumi and summer squash. I took pieces of squash and curled them around by finger and gently wedged them into the caponata, but I was just playing. You do what you like.

3.  Using the back of a baking sheet, or cake lifter, slide the pizzas into the oven, directly onto the racks. Bake for approximately 8 minutes, or until the caponata and cheese are bubbling. Drizzle the olive oil around the edge of the crust and lightly over the pizza; sprinkle over the oregano. Serve with a green salad.

caponataQuick Caponata

This will make a little more than you need. Use extras as a bruschetta topping, in a baked potato, or even with an omelette. Mix in some cooked beans or lentils if you want more protein. This recipe is easily doubled.

2 tbsp olive oil

1 celery stalk, finely chopped

½ red onion, finely chopped

2-3 cloves garlic, finely minced

1 small eggplant/aubergine, diced

10 stoned green olives, halved

2 tbsp raisins

2 tbsp capers in vinegar

2 tsp red wine vinegar or balsamic vinegar

Salt and pepper, to taste

Pinch of muscovado or dark brown sugar

1 x 400g (14 oz) can*, Tetra pack or jar of chopped tomatoes, drained but save liquid OR equivalent whole tomatoes

A handful of cherry/grape tomatoes – optional

1 tbsp fresh oregano or basil – chopped

1. Heat the oil in a large saucepan over a medium heat. Add the celery and sauté for five minutes; add the onion and garlic and sauté a further five minutes. Add the remaining ingredients – except the oregano – and cook for 15 minutes, stirring frequently. Pour in some of the tomato liquid if you feel it needs it, but you want this quite thick for a topping pizza. You could even stir in some ketchup. Stir in the chopped oregano. Taste and adjust the seasoning, perhaps adding more sugar, or pepper.

2. Let the caponata cool for a few minutes before using as a pizza topping. Or serve warm with polenta, bruschetta bread, baked potato or with pasta.

BPA-free cans, if you can get them; click on the link for a balanced opinion

Other pizzas on food to glow:

Prawn, Pepper and Parsley Pesto Pizza; Tuna and Creme Fraiche Pizza; Cauliflower and Almond Pizza Crust with Fresh Sauce and Greens (gluten-free)

caponata pizzacaponata pizzacaponata pizza

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49 thoughts on “Summer’s End Caponata Pizza

    • Thanks Danielle. I just starting peeling it to make thin slices (to cook quickly) and saw that they naturally curled so I just decided to enhance the curl with my finger. A bit fiddly though, to be honest :D

    • Gosh, that is such a nice thing to say. If you read some of my own comments about my photography you will see that I don’t rate it very highly at all. I don’t know what I am doing, but I figure if I take enough photos it is statistically likely that some will pass muster! I also have a nice Nikon D3000 (a bit old school), which I tend to keep in “A” (aperture priority) that does some of the thinking for me ;D

    • Thanks! I was just going with the anglicised spelling because I know my recipe is in no way authentic Italian, and wouldn’t want to give that impression by writing it up as capponata di melanzane. But it is good to know that there are others who know the difference. I hope I haven’t made too much of a hash of the recipe!

      • Actually I had a closer look and found both spellings, so my bad :)
        The recipe is spot on. After reading your reply I looked for it in a leading Italian recipe website and they use the same ingredients you use (they also add pine nuts), also saying that in different areas of Sicily they change the ingredients or the proportions

      • I just make it the way I have always made for the past 25 years or so (minus pine nuts) – I love the sweet-sharp vegetables and the soothing texture. My daughter requests it as comfort food (with polenta). It gives back so much from such a small effort

  1. You are a mind reader! Just made a sort of caponata with yet more courgettes from the never ending allotment source – courtesy of my dad! Have never made pizza dough but will give it go tomorrow night – sounds like the perfect Friday night supper with glass of wine (PS I love autumn too – nothing to do with my birthday in October – promise!!)

  2. I love this idea, lots of wonderful Mediterranean flavours which I do now associate with my holiday in France even though Caponata is Italian! I am already thinking how I will miss the summer, I am enjoying this summer so much and don’t really want it to come to an end. I will make this,it is a very good idea and love it cold too :)

    • There is a lot of cross over, non? I like caponata cold too, with bread and extra olive oil, and some dried chilli flakes. I’ve just eaten, and even typing that sentence has made me a bit hungry :D

  3. I, well, feel like fall is still so far away! I know it’s not. September is almost here and then the days will certainly get cooler (or they should), but for the past week it has been bright and sunny and HOT… Yet really, I think this pizza would be perfect just about any time of the year. Certainly, a perfect way to welcome in the cooler weather with a warm, comforting slice…

    • We are still warm too, but the leaves are turning, the flowers have all done their thing, and autumn plants starting to show off a bit. But the nights are getting cooler and I am just now, with my bare feet, thinking I might like to find my cosy, fleecey socks. I can’t decide if this is incipient old age or if it is actually that much cooler tonight!

  4. I love that smell of autumn. I think its the mixture of a cool day with clear blue skies but the slight mustyness off falen leaves. Have you ever seen the Paul Klee painting called “Harbinger of Autumn”? It epitomises this time of year for me.

    • No, I don’t know the painting but I will look it up online {just looked at it – stunning, bold, with a gorgeous saffron pop from the tree}. Thanks for the tip. And I’m glad you agree on the smell of autumn, too. Musty is a good description. I pondered using it but didn’t know if I should write the word ‘musty’ in a food blog ;D

  5. What a beautifully colourful post, Kellie, and I’m loving seeing those yellow courgettes used in yet more creative ways. You are giving me so many wonderful things to do with them :-)
    I love autumn too, the wonderful colours which flush across the landscape, the damp scent of decay as the summers clothes fall away revealing the bare bones of the trees, the lush fruits especially raspberries and apples, the nights drawing in encouraging us to pull the curtains and light some candles, mist and mushroom…..oh so many things to love about autumn :-)

  6. We’ve had our usual foggy May, June, July and August and are looking forward to our late Indian Summer sunshine! I am not packing in my sandals just yet! Pizza is such a delight and topped with flavorful caponata is sure to please!

  7. This looks delicious, but am torn three ways, first, I am an Aussie living in Northern Canada, so letting go of Summer is very trumatic….I do not want to admit to the encroaching Fall (I know you love it, but, not me….now I have nothing against Fall, if it came just before summer I would love it, but, alas, it comes before wwwiiinnntttttt. Nope, cant say that word!). Second, I have commited to Vegan MoFo (Vegan Month of Food) and have 20+ recipes in the works for September so cannot possibly fit another one in. Yet…. it looks so delicious I cant resist.:)
    Looks like, I will be making pizza…..:)

    • I’m super bummed that I missed the Vegan MoFo deadline :( I will be following along though, and getting inspiration. Btw, the pizza is of course fine without the halloumi. Loads of squash curls would ‘sub’ for the cheese in the looks department. Good luck with your 20+ recipes!

  8. Oh what a beautiful beautiful pizza! I need to make this soon! I have not made caponata before and it sounds so delicious (with my fav veg/fruit the eggplant). I like autumn and winter but alas in Malaysia it’s summer all year around. But I still don’t go around with bathing suit….. Hahaha!

    • Hi Kelly! I hail from Florida so I know what you mean: more of climate than actual seasons. The UK is SO different. About the stoned olives: in a few posts I have “fat stoned dates” LOL Thanks for dropping by. Love the look of your ramen burgers!!

  9. When tomatoes are less pricy I am going to give this a whirl. We just hit spring! WOOT! Hopefully our summer won’t be as awful as it was last year and we can just mellow out in Tasmanian warmth basking like Hippos in the river ;)

  10. We love tomato based sauces for pasta/ pizza etc so I shall ahve to try this out – been making something similar but more as a way to hide veggies for our picky toddler but this looks so delicious. I am an autumn lover too. Such a bounty to cook from right now!

  11. How gorgeous! I think I will have to pin this bad boy, I really want to try, maybe on my cauliflower crust! It just looks so delicious! My husband is not a big of eggplant, what would you recommend for the best substitute?

  12. Kellie, over the years, I’ve developed a capanadina recipe that’s healthy. (My Italian Mother-in-law’s recipe is steller – but lots of oil!). I cube the eggplant and bake it in the oven. I boil the celery and then use the celery water to thin out tomato paste. I make it in batches and freeze in smaller containers. A healthy lunch or snack any time!

  13. Pingback: The Sicilian Connection | An American Foodie Abroad

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