Caponata, International Picnic Day, & DipStock!

What a week this has been and its only Tuesday! I finally got my act together and made my Pomegranate Mousse Cake, using that incredible pomegranate juice that POM Wonderful had sent me, and my timing was perfect.  My entry in the Picnic Basket Game being run by Louise @ Months of Edible Celebrations  was also due……whew….you would almost think I planned it that way! You see I had picked the letter P for my entry……that would be P for Pomegranate!
So with that taken care of I just had one more thing to make for my new friend Sara @ Saucy Dipper.  You see Sara was hosting DipStock, and having lived through the era that a similarly named festival was held, I thought it my duty to participate!  I thought long and hard, and walked through my Local Wegman’s for inspiration.  I love Hummus all kinds, there was Baba Ganoush, White Bean dip, Cheese Dip………well you get the picture.  So many choices…….hmmm.   Then while looking at produce, I saw the Graffiti Eggplant and it came to me, Caponata.
Now there are a few different varieties of Caponata, from different regions of Italy.  My version of Caponata is kind of a hybrid, adding a few things that I like in addition to the traditional ingredients.  For those of you who may be unfamiliar with Caponata, think of it a relish of sorts, or an Sicilian  Salsa.  My version like its Sicilian counterpart contains eggplant.    I hope you enjoy!
After your through checking out my entry for Dipstock, scroll down the page to see all the goodies for our online picnic celebrating International Picnic Day!!

Caponata  my contribution to Dipstock!
1 medium to large eggplant peeled, grilled, small dice
1/2 cup of assorted pitted olives, small dice
6-8 cloves roasted garlic chopped
1 medium tomato, small dice
3 ribs celery, small dice
1 tablespoon chopped Basil
1/2 cup vinegar
2 tbsp sugar
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1 tsp sea salt
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
The first thing you need to do is to roast the garlic, this is something you can do ahead of time and have ready, simply peel  a head of garlic coat i in olive oil and place in a 350 degree oven for about 30 minutes, you want it cooked not but soft.
Next, roast, grill or pan fry your peeled eggplant slices. If your roasting or grilling them, coat the peeled eggplant slices with extra virgin olive oil first.  I grilled mine for this caponata. Do not overcook the eggplant , you do not want it to be mushy. Let the eggplant cool and pat down gently to remove excess oil.
Slice the eggplant into strips, and dice into small pieces.  Set aside in large enough bowl to hold all of the ingredients.
Slice then dice your tomato, dice the olives, chop the roasted garlic and basil.  Mix together with the eggplant.
In another bowl prepare your dressing, add the vinegar, sugar, red pepper flakes, salt and olive oil, mix the dressing until all the sugar has been dissolved. Mix the dressing into the caponata mix.
Allow Caponata to marinate in the dressing for at least an hour before serving, caponata should keep for 2-3 days.  Serve with crackers, crusty bread or pita’s.
Now Check out the picnic a

You’re going on a picnic and you’re bringing…

Click on the links to see who is bringing each dish to the picnic!!


  1. Pacheco Patty says:

    Yummy, beautiful picture! I'm seeing a picnic in my future!

  2. I like your caponata. It looks great. Great pics!

  3. I didn't know what Caponata was till now, this looks super yummy especially with that toasted bread!

  4. Cook with Madin says:

    Wow, lovely presentation. It's like I'm already dipping those toasted pitas on the caponata, just by looking at the picture.

  5. The caponata looks and sounds so good! Reminds me of when I dated this Italian guy in college. His mom made caponata all the time and in so many different ways. Unfortunately, the first time she made it for me, she put octopus in it! 🙂

  6. howtobaker says:

    The caponata looks awesome! Thanks for sharing a great looking recipe. I'm saving this one for when the eggplant really starts producing this summer.

  7. Sushma Mallya says:

    Interesting & yummy dishes…all of them are really nice..

  8. You never fail me! I am going on a picnic this weekend, and I'm leaving this post brimming with fresh ideas. I hope you have a wonderful day Dennis~

  9. yummy dishes,your caponata looks so fine!

  10. La Cucina del Topino says:

    Great dish! Love eggplant! This is definitely one of the most delicious dish from Italy!

  11. penny aka jeroxie says:

    I wish that was a real picnic. All that gorgeous food.

  12. Your dip looks and sounds really nice. Thanks for the recipe.

  13. Michael Toa says:

    All look delish! Can I come to your picnic? hehe… 🙂

  14. I had no idea there was an International Picnic Day! How fabulous! And I love the look of your dip – such a change from the creamy, pureed kinds that can be fond everywhere!

  15. Ana Powell says:

    Caponata, yes please.
    Another awesome and delicious dish.
    Yours look fantastic, great click ♥

  16. Allie and Pattie says:

    Dennis, there'a always caponata in our fridge- my Nonna's was so very similar to yours. I WILL be making that cake!
    xoxo pattie

  17. I do love caponata, Dennis. For some reason, I never make it though. Hmm?
    p.s. I'm still enamored with your pomegranate cake. I just stare at the picture in awe…so nice!

  18. I like your contribution the best by far!

  19. A Thought For Food says:

    Like Stella, I love Caponata but have yet to make it myself. That will have to change. Another great post, Chef Dennis!

  20. ana @ iMadeItSo says:

    i've never made caponata before. i'll have to try it this summer… thanks for sharing.

  21. I like your contribution the best by far!

  22. I had no idea what caponata was before this post but it seems great! Thanks for sharing. 🙂

  23. such a great dip or spread, I think I could eat the whole bowl full Dennis – how do you manage to do all you do??

  24. Thank you for participating in Dipstock! Really, I couldn't be more flattered.

    Your dip sounds like one I'll have to try myself, especially since I have done so little with eggplant in the past.

    It's time to get creative!

  25. Autumn @Good Eats Girl says:

    Your caponata looks amazing!

    You always have the most beautiful food! I love it!

  26. My mouth is watering!!! I think I'll make that this weekend. Thank you Dennis 🙂

  27. 3 hungry tummies says:

    Hey Dennis the photos say it all. Love the wonderful presentation. Can't wait to try it out!

  28. Just Food Snobs says:

    Love the caponata recipe, great for guests! I am full just looking at all that picnic food, looks so good!

  29. JillyAn says:

    The caponata looks wonderful Dennis. It's always on of my most requested dips when I cater (that and cilatron black bean hummus). Im still drooling over the pomegranate cake though.

  30. Lazaro Cooks! says:

    Lovely dish. And what a great round-up of food. Fantastic job, Dennis.

    Be well

  31. Dipstock sounds like fun! Caponata is one of my favorites. Great recipe!

  32. From the Kitchen says:

    That's one picnic I wouldn't want to be late for! We love caponata in all forms. I use it as an appetizer, a sauce for pasta, on bruschetta and to occasionally dip a spoon in for the cook's snack.


  33. anniebakes says:

    what a super cute post, love those recipes, may have to try a few!!


  34. Jess @ Bakericious says:

    how i wish i can join in your picnic, yum yum!

  35. spcookiequeen says:

    Wonderful version, I make a couple different ones myself, but I'm gonna try this one. I'd love to be at that picnic!

  36. Cristina says:

    I know I'd luv coponata. Your version has delicious ingredients (lots of good for you garlic!), and then serving with crusty bread or pita – addicting!

  37. girlichef says:

    I'm afraid I may eat the whole dish!! This sounds so fresh, flavorful and PERFECT for a picnic. So glad I'm gonna be there 😉

  38. Tanantha @ I Just Love My Apron says:

    Great dip! It's perfect for a picnic and I wanna go to the International Picnic Day now!

    I like grilled eggplant and love to see you added it in the dip 🙂 In South East Asia, they use grilled eggplant to make a dip too 😀

  39. The Domestic Adventurer says:

    I love dips like this. Yours looks very fresh and colorful!

  40. Cooking with Kait says:

    What a wonderful twist on the traditional caponata. You have created some great contributions.

  41. The Housewife says:

    I love the caponata… it's light, flavorful and so perfect for a picnic! This was such a fun post!

  42. lisaiscooking says:

    Your caponata with grilled eggplant sounds great for a picnic! Don't tell anyone, but I don't really love versions with raisins or currants.

  43. All of those dishes look so appetising! Your caponata makes a great snack!

  44. mangiabella says:

    oh Dennis you do have a talent for pampering the taste buds – yes indeed

  45. intuitive eggplant says:

    Dennis, your caponata looks delicious! And both Dipstock and that International Picnic Day online cooking fest look like great fun! Thanks for sharing!

  46. Your caponata looks great. The picture is wonderful, I can almost reach out and grab it! Looks like a great picnic to be on!

  47. I have been on the hunt for a good caponata recipe as it's one of my favorite spreads….this looks DIVINE! thanks for sharing 🙂

  48. the constant hunger says:

    Looking forward to following your blog. Beautiful pic.

  49. Sugahmommy says:

    Thanks for stopping by my blog Dennis, because it led me to yours! I really do love chips with any kind of dip and especially salsa. Wow, I've never tried it but Caponata looks like just the type of thing for me. I'm definitely going to be bookmarking this 🙂


    Fun Post! The caponata looks delicious! Great for this weekend!

  51. Kristen says:

    I love that you call Caponata a salsa. So many cultures have similar dishes with regional tweaks. This looks lovely.

    I am completely unfamiliar with the picnic fun, but was wondering where is the rest of the alphabet? It looks like a lot of fun.

  52. Debbi Does Dinner Healthy says:

    The caponata looks delicious! Not an olive fan here but I do like it in dips like that and I LOVE eggplant!

    Love all the picnic foods, I've been seeing that floating around the web, how cute!

  53. I adore caponata and it is definitely a wonderful dip as well as a great pasta sauce! The intense flavor of the vinegar is just out of this world. I made one last summer and served it over polenta. Good stuff.

    That mousse cake…you definitely made POM proud!

  54. Design Wine and Dine says:

    This dish looks wonderful, so beautiful and seasonal! I'm happy to have found your blog!

  55. Foodessa says:

    Everyone seems to have a slightly different version of the 'Caponata'.
    Giving a quick look at your wonderful ingredients…I can tell that yours will be way tastier than some I've tried in some supposedly Italian run restaurants;o)

    Flavourful wishes,

  56. baking.serendipity says:

    So much celebrating! And delicious food 🙂 The pomegranate cake was perfect to enter!

  57. Love you wonderful photos and recipes! Caponata is now on my list to do.

  58. Lauren Zabaneh says:

    looks awesome. I've always wanted to try this. can't go wrong with this one! and I love pita chips, yummmmy!

  59. Kelly @ Hot Cookin' says:

    Love the picnic idea! What gorgeous photos! I've never made Caponata, but now I'll have to do so. 🙂

    I have tons of zucchini in my vegetable garden. Do you have a favorite zucchini bread recipe?

  60. Chow and Chatter says:

    oh this looks wonderful have a great 4th weekend

  61. Magic of Spice says:

    What a lovely caponata…and a very fun post. Sort of afraid of the picnic basket though:) lol, I may be getting my self into trouble?

  62. Carolyn says:

    That caponata looks so good, I am bookmarking for a future appetizer (near future!).

  63. ~~louise~~ says:

    Hi Dennis,
    Hope you had a safe and enjoyable 4th filled with lots of goodies:)

    I wanted to take a moment to thank you once again for bringing your dazzling Pomegranate Mousse Cake on the picnic. It disappeared before I even had a chance to nibble at it:) A huge hit!!!

    It was wonderful having you. I do hope you will join us again next year. Thank you so much, Louise

  64. You made a delicious version!
    I like it too with sugar and vinegar…my mom makes it with potatoes and without vinegar and I saw versions of this with green beans too, more similar to our minestrone…your is much more sicilian! the best for me… ^_^

  65. That caponata dip looks so tasty!

  66. denise @ quickies on the dinner table says:

    I would not have thought to present caponata as a dip! It sounds wonderful Dennis 🙂 I could have that for my lunch, it looks so tempting!

    "Dipstock"?? ROFL I love it!!

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