Caponata siciliana

caponata siciliana

caponata siciliana

This is a famous sweet and sour Sicilian dish which I had been meaning to make for a very long time and somehow never got round to do until recently. There are several versions available out there, depending on what part of Sicily they are from (please Carmelita don’t shoot me down if this recipe is not how you make it :-)) . The basic ingredients are aubergines, celery, onions, tomatoes, sultanas, capers and olives. But I have also seen it with peppers and pine kernels and a few other things besides. The version I have made was a bit of a compilation of  the recipes I saw on line. In some of them you have to salt the aubergines beforehand in order to make them expel some of their liquid. I didn’t bother doing that. Life is too short. Caponata is better eaten the day after you have made it so that the flavours get a chance to develop. Also it shouldn’t be served hot but at room temperature. I served it as a starter with some homemade bread but it could accompany a variety of other dishes and dips. Ideal for a buffet. It’s really delicious! 


  • 2 medium aubergines (about 
1 pound/500g), cut into 
1/2-inch (1-cm) cubes
  • 4-6 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 celery stalks, thinly sliced
  • 1 garlic clove, chopped
  • 1 tin plum tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 50g sultanas
  • 2 tablespoons capers, rinsed
  • 75g pitted good quality green olives
  • A good handful of flat-leaf parsley or basil, chopped, 
to finish


Fry the aubergines in the oil in a large pan until cooked (approx. 10 minutes). Remove from the pan. Add a spoon of oil and fry the onion, celery, and garlic a for about 10 minutes until tender and golden. Add the tomatoes with their juice and simmer for 5 minutes to reduce a little.

Now add the balsamic vinegar, sugar; sultanas, capers and olives to the pan. Simmer for another 5 minutes, stirring often. Add the aubergines and cook for another 5 minutes then turn off the heat.

Your caponata is ready. It is best served the day after at room temperature. Sprinkle with plenty of chopped parsley or basil just before serving.


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