Sicilian Caponata, a Dish of Fried Seasoned Eggplants

I love the italian caponata and I totally love eggplants! Too bad their season is just summer, I could eat them again and again and… again!

You can however compensate for their winter lack by preserving them in oil, vinegar, dried or … in jars of caponata!

It ‘s a simple way to treasure the smell of the sun on cold winter evenings, don’t you think so?

To be honest, I have not ever tried in complete autonomy to prepare this kind of things: I have just helped my mom when she was still alive.

Today I will therefore present you just an expressed caponata: you can choose to finish it by spoonfuls, with a lot of slices of bread or to store it in jars!


The original sicilian recipe is naturally vegan: it involves deep-fried eggplants, capers, raisins, celery, pine nuts, olives and the characteristic sweet-and-sour flavour.

My version is lightened: I haven’t add the bittersweet at all and I decided to stew the eggplants, instead of frying them. You can pick the version you like the most, but be aware that my version (you can find the sweat-and-sour version for instance here: in the wonderful italian blog Trattoria da Martina) creates total dependence!

italian caponata melanzane eggplants

Ingredients for 4 servings:

2 large round eggplants, from light purple colour and delicate flavour
4 cloves of garlic
4 peeled tomatoes
2 stalks of celery
½ red onion (from Tropea)
100 grams of pitted green olives
100 grams of pitted black olives
2 tablespoons of capers
150 grams of raisins
50 grams of pine nuts
10 beautiful basil leaves
8 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper

Preparation time:

25 minutes preparation + 40 minutes cooking + 2 hours of rest (optional)

Kilokalories per serving:

Approximately 400 kcal

Degree of Difficulty:


Wash the eggplants under running water and cut them into cubes. In my opinion, this variety of eggplant is sweet and does not need resting in salt to remove the bitter taste.

In case of doubts, put them in a large colander and sprinkle with salt, leaving them to drain for at least 2 hours, then rinse, squeeze and pat them dry with a clean cloth.

At this point, the eggplant should be fried. As I said before, I preferred to stew them in extra olive oil, making them dry as much as possible and trying to leave them hard-cooked.

When cooked, put them aside.

Now take a large, thick-bottomed saucepan, use the remaining extra virgin olive oil and fry over low heat the diced celery, the finely chopped onion, the garlic cloves, the peeled tomatoes, the raisins, the pine nuts, the capers and the black and green cutted olives.

When you see that celery becomes soft, add the eggplants that you had kept aside, oregano and the basil leaves. Cook for about 15 minutes, in order to mix all the flavours. Add water, if necessary. Season with salt and pepper and let cool before serving.

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  • Nora - This really created addiction!! I tried it this morning, and it was super easy and super savory, and it was perfect for these crazy-weather days! It’s amazing how the taste of raisin gets with eggplant and olives. What can I say? I loved it, and I’m going to make it for my family too!ReplyCancel

    • Daniela - Great, you’re really really great, Nora! I’m so glad you liked it. Yes, caponata is super easy and savory, as you said. And it’s really amazing that two ingredients, apparently so distant, can be combined so well together, isn’t it? Enjoy it!ReplyCancel

  • Gli Aromi by Russino and the Origins of Sicilian Cuisine - Pepe Azzurro - […] my phone in one hand, to note things down, and a portion of caponata in the other one, I sink in the culinary history told by Dr. Blanco, while I already plan to come […]ReplyCancel

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