Caponata is a nutritious and tasty side dish, typical of Sicilian cuisine. It is made with a mix of fried vegetables –eggplant, tomato, onion, green olives, capers, celery and basil– that are then sautéed in a pan with sugar and vinegar, which give caponata its typical sweet and sour taste.
This unique delight has roots in the traditional cuisine of the poor. Its name seems to derive from “capone”, which in Sicilian dialect refers to the Lampuga: an expensive type of fish that was served with a sweet and sour sauce in aristocratic households. Being unable to afford such an expensive dish, the peasants would replace the fish with aubergines, which were much cheaper! Thus the aubergine caponata was born.
Caponata is ideal as a vegetarian appetizer or side dish to accompany a main course containing meat, fish, eggs or cheese. It is also excellent as sandwich filling or mixed with cold pasta or croutons. It can be served both hot and cold!
Do you want to prepare it at home in a few steps?
Bring the real Sicilian Caponata to your table with this recipe and step-by-step tips! Succulent and tasty, like in a restaurant!
This recipe is the most classic and fastest to prepare. However, there are several variants, depending on the Sicilian area in which it is made.
|Ingredients (4 servings)||Quantity|
|Datterini or cherry tomatoes||150gr|
|Tomato puree||4 tablespoons|
|Green olives (pitted net weight)||80gr|
|Capers in extra virgin olive oil basil||1 tablespoon|
|Sugar||1 large spoonful|
|White wine vinegar||2 tablespoons|
|Previously toasted pine nuts (optional)||50gr|
|Oil for frying||to taste|
First of all, clean the vegetables and cut the aubergines, the celery and the cherry tomatoes into cubes. If the cherry tomatoes are too small, just divide them in half.
Use a large pan to fry the aubergines in plenty of oil for 3-4 minutes, just enough time to have them golden brown. Drain well and set aside on a sheet of absorbent paper.
In a large pan, add the finely chopped onion together with 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil. Fry for 2 minutes.
Add the tomato puree and cook it for 1 minute before incorporating the diced celery, the previously pitted olives, the capers and the cherry tomatoes. Then, cook for another 3 minutes over low heat.
Add the fried aubergines, a few basil leaves and cook for 2 more minutes.
Finally add the spoonful of sugar, the vinegar and simmer over high heat. Add salt and previously toasted pine nuts (toast them in a pan for a few minutes).
Ecco qua! the caponata is ready to be savored.