Tuesday 22 May 2018

Sicilian Caponata

30 minutes to prepare Serves 4



The supermarket is full of eggplant right now so it's the perfect time to make this dish from my mother's culinary tradition - Caponata.

It's an eggplant stew that can be used both as a tasty vegetarian main dish, and as a side dish, especially for fish. I love spreading it on some good, crusty bread, too!

Caponata has that Sicilian affinity for agrodolce - sweet and sour. It is made with vinegar and sugar. It is a flavor explosion but can be tuned to suit your own particular tastes. You can adjust the vinegar to your liking and the sugar to your taste.

You can serve this warm although it is traditionally served at room temperature. It lasts for several days in the fridge after you make it.

The traditional way to make it is to cube the eggplant and fry it. Salting the eggplant beforehand is important because it helps to collapse the air holes that are in the eggplant, making it like a sponge. That is why it soaks up so much oil.
Moreover, Caponata has capers, raisins, pine nuts and celery added to round out the flavors.

Here are ingredients for a 4-serving recipe:


2 medium eggplants, cubed
3 medium red peppers cut into stripes
1 large onion, chopped
1 clove garlic
700 g ripe San Marzano tomatoes, peeled
1 chopped celery
3 tablespoons capers packed in salt, rinsed for 30 minutes
2 tablespoons raisins, rinsed for 30 minutes
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1/2 tablespoon sugar
2 tablespoons pine nuts
EVO oil
salt and pepper

  1. In a colander, toss eggplant with several tablespoons of salt. Place colander in sink and let sit 30 minutes, allowing juices to drain. Rinse eggplant under water, then blot dry with a paper towel. Set aside
  2. Heat abundant EVO oil in a large non-stick skillet over high heat. When the oil is very hot and glistening, fry eggplant cubes, tossing occasionally, until browned (about 5 minutes). Transfer to a large plate. Heat the remaining olive oil and fry the peppers. Transfer to the plate with the eggplant batch and reserve
  3. Meanwhile, in a large frypan, saute the chopped onion in 4 tablespoons of EVO oil, gently, for about 10 minutes
  4. Add the crushed tomatoes and simmer for about 5 minutes. Add the celery, and gently simmer for about 30 minutes
  5. Add fried eggplant and pepper, vinegar, sugar, pine nuts and stir until blended. Add pepper to taste and go on with the cooking for 20 minutes
  6. Remove from heat. Let rest, covered, several hours to allow flavors to meld

Nutrition Facts are detailed in the table below. Data is provided per serving.


  1. 120 minutes of waiting to taste it

    1. Hi, yes indeed. The more you wait, the better the taste :-)