Sicilian caponata

A few years ago we had a lovely holiday in Sicily – I remember seeing miles and miles of eggplant farms and eating many versions of this dish.  I have tried many caponata recipes and this is my favourite .  This eggplant dish is lovely served warm or cool, it keeps well in the fridge so you have your vegies sorted for a couple of meals.  Caponata makes a beautiful side to some grilled lamb, tuna or swordfish.



Sicilian caponata




  • 1 medium eggplant

  • coarse salt

  • 1 tab olive oil

  • 1 stalk celery, trimmed, sliced thinly

  • 1 medium (150g) onion, sliced thinly

  • 400g tin peeled and diced tomatoes

  • 2 red capsicums, diced

  • 1 tablespoon salted capers, rinsed

  • 1 tablespoon pine nuts, optional

  • a handful of black or green olives

  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar

  • 1 clove crushed garlic

  • 2 tablespoons wine vinegar

  • salt and freshly ground black pepper


  1. Cut the eggplant into small cubes, sprinkle with a little salt and leave to drain for 30 minutes. Pat dry. *Heat oil in a large pan, add onion, capsicum and celery, Cook over moderate heat for 5 minutes. Add eggplant and cook for a further 5 minutes, stirring.

  2. Add tomatoes, vinegar, sugar and crushed garlic. Cook for 2 minutes. Add olives and capers, stir well. Simmer, partially covered, for 15-20 minutes or until most of the liquid has evaporated. Season to taste with salt and pepper and sprinkle pinenuts over to serve.

  3. * To salt or not to salt? In Europe eggplant is salted before cooking to remove the bitter juices, but the improved varieties grown in Australia have lost this bitterness – unless they have been on a greengrocer’s shelf too long. Some say salting also helps to reduce the amount of oil absorbed during cooking.


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