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This is a caponata, from Sicily. Everybody asks! It's kind of an apetiser - really good with bread or served as a side salsa at a BBQ. The vinegar, capers, aubergine and tomatoes make for a unique bitter-sweet flavour. Looks like garbage pie, tastes amazing.

Prep time: about 45 mins

Click the images to enlarge


  • 1 aubergine (eggplant)
  • 1 brown onion diced
  • 1 red capsicum (sweet pepper) diced
  • 2 sticks of celery (with some leaves if poss) diced
  • 2 tbs capers
  • 8 nice olives
  • 2 tbs pine nuts
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 can chopped tomatoes
  • 1 tbs tomato paste
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • black pepper
  • olive oil for frying
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 2 tbs caster sugar
  • heavy frypan (or two)
  • small saucepan



First, get an iron pan nice and hot. Dice the aubergine into 1/2" cubes. Add a little oil to the pan and fry the aub in batches. Don't crowd the pan too much and keep it moist so the it reduces down nicely. It should brown and reduce size by roughly half. Set aside in a bowl.

Dicing the aubergine Frying the aubergine

Put a large pan on a medium heat, add a dash of oil and saute the diced onion, capsicum, celery and the pine nuts. When softened add the capers, olives and garlic.

Onion, celery, sweet capsicum Frying with the pinenuts Add olives, capers and garlic

After a few minutes add the tomatoes, paste and the fried aubergine. Mix and simmer.

Nicely fried Simmering

In a small saucepan heat the vinegar until it starts to boil, add the sugar. When disolved, add it to the pan and mix in. Taste and adjust the sugar/vinegar mix if necessary.

Served with bruschetta

Served with basic bruschetta (grilled ciabatta, rubbed with a cut garlic clove and seasoned)