Get ready to taste the flavours of sunny Sicily with this classic Caponata!
- 700 grams of aubergines
- 1 medium white onion
- 200 grams of celery stalks
- 150 grams cherry tomatoes
- 100 grams of pitted green olives
- 100 ml tomato passata
- 2 tbsp of capers
- 30 grams of toasted pine nuts (optional)
- 1/2 small fresh red chilli, finely chopped (optional)
- 3 tbsp of white wine vinegar
- 2 tbsp of muscovado sugar
- Salt, to taste
- Basil, to taste
- 2 tbsps of extra-virgin olive oil
- Vegetable oil (such as sunflower oil) for frying
- To prepare the Sicilian Caponata, start by cleaning the vegetables and cutting the aubergines, celery, and cherry tomatoes into cubes.
- In a large frying pan, heat plenty of oil and fry the aubergines for 3-4 minutes until they’re golden brown. Drain them well and set aside.
- In the same frying pan, add 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil and finely chopped onion and -if using- the finely chopped fresh red chilli. Fry for 2 minutes, then add the tomato passata and let it infuse for 5 minute on low heat.
- Next, add the diced celery and cook for another 5 minutes.
- Now it’s time to add the previously pitted olives, capers, and cherry tomatoes. Cook everything on a low heat for 3 minutes.
- Finally, add the fried aubergines, a handful of basil, and let it cook for 2 more minutes. Add the sugar and vinegar, and let it evaporate over high heat.
- Season with salt and, if desired, add pine nuts or almonds that have been previously toasted in a pan for a few minutes.
To get the best results, it is important to pay attention to the size of the vegetables and cut them into evenly sized pieces.
When it comes to the aubergines, you can make them softer and cook them faster by soaking them in water and salt for around ten minutes before cooking them. This is an important step to keep in mind for a successful caponata.
The caponata can be served hot or cold, and it is equally delicious both ways. However, we recommend preparing it the day before serving it, as it will be even tastier the day after.
If you want to preserve your caponata, you can put it into sterilised and dried jars while it is still hot. Let the jars cool down slowly, away from drafts, and cover them with tea towels or blankets.
For a more practical approach, you can keep only the sweet and sour caponata sauce in the jars and freeze the cooled down fried aubergines separately. Combining the two preparations is easy, and the aubergines will taste as if they have just been fried.
The caponata sauce is also versatile and can be used to flavour other dishes like zucchini, artichokes, chicken, fish, and more.
Caponata is typically served as an appetiser or side dish. It is not usually used as a pasta sauce, but it pairs well with cold white rice and a portion of protein on top for a satisfying meal.
- Prep Time: 30 minutes
- Cook Time: 30 minutes
- Category: Vegetables
- Method: stir fry
- Cuisine: Italian
Keywords: aubergines, celery, tomatoes, pine nuts, green olives, onions, eggplants, capers