Caponata is an irresistible Sicilian delicacy made with eggplants. It is arguably considered the Italian version of the French ratatouille, although caponata has a unique sweet and sour taste conferred by the addition of sugar, vinegar, basil, and pine nuts.
According to some, the name of the dish derives from “capone”, a term used in the Sicilian dialect to refer to a premium type of fish eaten by aristocrats and served with a sweet and sour sauce. The poor peasants and farmers would then replace it by using big chunks of eggplant, thus creating this wonderful dish.
Enjoy this classic caponata recipe!
- 1 large eggplant cut into large batons
- 1 medium onion cut into large wedges 1/8ths
- 1 stalk celery
- 1 green pepper cut into same size as onion
- 2 tins whole peeled tomatoes pierce tomatoes and allow to drain of liquid
- 50 milliliters red wine vinegar
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 1/2 cup kalamata olives
- 2 tablespoons capers
- olive oil extra virgin
- sea salt flakes
- pepper grinded
- Brown the eggplant in a deep fryer or well oiled pan & drain well.
- Soften onion and celery in some olive oil in a large pot (5-10 mins).
- Add tomato paste, capsicum (green pepper) and continue to saute 2-3 minutes.
- Add vinegar, sugar, capers, olives and tomatoes.
- Season & simmer for 10-15 minutes or until almost dry.
- Add eggplant back in for 5 minutes & let cool (may require some liquid to be ladled off, should be a stew like consistency).
Note: The Maltese have their own version of the caponata, called kapunata. It’s very similar to the Sicilian version and it’s one of the most popular dishes in Malta.