Nowadays caponata is known throughout the world as a savory eggplant stew. In Sicily, we use it as an important part of an antipasti selection or as a side dish, best served cold. Since it keeps well for several days in the refrigerator, improving in flavor every hour it marinates, we make a big amount to enjoy for as long as it lasts.
Total Timeunder 4 hours
Make Ahead RecipeYes
OccasionCasual Dinner Party, Family Get-together
Recipe Courseantipasto/mezze, side dish
Taste and Texturesalty, savory
Type of Dishvegetable
- Olive oil
- 3 large eggplants, with stem ends removed, cut into linch cubes
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 3 cups fresh tomato sauce Salsa di Pomodoro
- ¾ cup pitted green olives, Sicilian, if possible
- ½ cup capers
- 1 cup thinly sliced hearts of celery including 2 tablespoons chopped leaves
- 5 anchovy fillets, finely chopped
- ½ cup red wine vinegar, or to taste
- 1 tablespoon sugar, or to taste
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
Heat ½ inch of olive oil in a large frying pan and cook the eggplant, in batches, until golden brown. Drain the cooked eggplant on paper towels. Add extra oil to the pan, as needed.
In a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan, heat ½ cup olive oil and cook the onion for 5 minutes, stirring often. Add the remaining ingredients and the drained eggplant. Combine gently but thoroughly, and simmer over low heat for 30 minutes. Taste for seasoning. The caponata should have a pleasant sweet-and-sour flavor.
Transfer the caponata to a large bowl and let cool. Serve at room temperature or cover and refrigerate overnight and serve cold.
1996 Giovanna Tornabene and Gilda di Paola Tornabene