Caponata is a humble peasant dish that originated in the Southern region of Sicily in Italy. Over the years has evolved into a dish that embodies the heart and soul of Sicilian cuisine.
My homemade Caponata recipe is a mouth-watering combination of roasted eggplant, juicy tomatoes, capsicums, and tangy capers all cooked together. The result is a deliciously sweet and sour vegetable medley that is perfect for serving as an appetizer or side dish.
Traditionally Caponata is served over crostini, but I found this delicious vegetable combination is also perfectly paired with dishes such as pasta, polenta, meats, fish, and even pizza. Each bite is a celebration of Sicily's rich culinary heritage, experiencing the warmth of the Mediterranean from the comfort of your own home. The mix of flavors and textures is truly irresistible!
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Ingredients for Caponata
2 medium eggplants, diced into small cubes
1 red onion, peeled and finely sliced
3 celery stalks, roughly chopped
400g tinned chopped tomatoes
2 red capsicums, seeds removed and sliced
3 tbsp capers, rinsed in cold water
2 tbsp white vinegar
1 cup mixed pitted olives
3 garlic cloves, minced
1-2 tsp red pepper flakes (option)
Handful of mixed basil and parsley, roughly chopped
Olive oil for frying
Salt and pepper to season
Method for Caponata
Sprinkle diced eggplant with a little salt and allow to sit for 20 minutes to draw out the moisture. Pat dry with paper towels. Heat a large saucepan with a little olive oil. Fry the eggplants in batches for 3 to 5 minutes, until they are slightly charred and soft. Repeat until all eggplant is fried, removing from the pan and setting aside.
In the same saucepan, add a little more olive oil. Add onion and celery, garlic, capers, olives, and capsicums, and stir well to combine. Fry off for 5 to 7 minutes until the capsicums and celery have softened. Add back to the pan the cooked eggplant and stir once again to combine everything.
Add tinned tomatoes, white vinegar, red pepper flakes, and mixed herbs, and season with salt and pepper, adjusting according to your liking. Cover and allow to simmer for a further 10 minutes to allow the flavours to infuse. Once cooked, turn off the heat.
Caponata can be served straight away or refrigerated to allow the flavours to combine further. I recommend serving cold as the flavours will only intensify the following day.
Serve over toasted ciabatta bread, served with cooked pasta, or can be enjoyed on it's own.
Buon Appetito! x