June 19, 2011
1 Ratings
  • Serves 4-6
Author Notes

Caponata is a Sicilian side dish I guess if you had to liken it to any dish it would be Ratatouille. This was a staple in my family at least once a week. It is a combination of cooked vegetables, eggplant is the star and of course like many italian dishes there is a tomato base. I thought this would be a wonderful addition to a picnic basket, it stays good for hours without refrigeration can withstand a bit of sun, it actually improves with time. Its best to make this a day or two ahead of when you plan on serving. Serve cold or room temperature with crusty bread, some nice hard cheese and wine. This is my interpretation of the recipe my family used with a little help from a recipe I found in NYT. —sdebrango

What You'll Need
  • 4 Italian eggplant washed and cut in half lengthwise. Skin on.
  • 1 Medium size onion chopped
  • 2 Stalks celery (Use the tender inner stalks) chopped
  • 3 Cloves garlic minced
  • 4 Peppadew peppers chopped (If you do not have these use more of the red bell pepper)
  • 1/2 Red bell pepper chopped
  • 4 Fresh tomato's peeled and seeds removed, or 1cup canned crushed tomato
  • 3 tablespoons Capers rinsed
  • 1/4 cup Olives Kalamata or green (I use a little of each) Rough chop the olives
  • 2 teaspoons Sugar (add 1 tsp taste and add another if needed)
  • 3 tablespoons Red Wine vinegar
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Pinch of crushed red pepper (optional)
  1. Pre-heat oven to 450, clean the eggplant cut the tops off and cut in half lengthwise. On baking sheet lined with aluminum foil brush a little olive oil place your eggplant cut side down and bake for 15 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside to cool. Chop the eggplant into bite size pieces.
  2. In fry pan on med/high flame coated with olive oil add your chopped onion, cook until translucent. Add chopped celery and red bell pepper, continue cooking until they are soft and have started to caramelize. Add your minced garlic, cook for a minute or so don't let garlic brown. Add your eggplant,tomato,peppadew, capers, olives,crushed red pepper, sugar and vinegar continue cooking until mixture is thick. Eggplant will break down but thats ok this will take about 20 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Let sit overnight. It tastes incredible when it has rested and all the flavors have blended together.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • boulangere
  • aran.connolly
  • fiveandspice
  • Kitchen Butterfly
    Kitchen Butterfly
  • inpatskitchen
I have loved to cook for as long as I can remember, am self taught learning as I go. I come from a large Italian family and food was at the center of almost every gathering. My grandfather made his own wine and I remember the barrels of wine in the cellar of my grandfathers home, I watched my mother and aunts making homemade pasta and remember how wonderful it was to sit down to a truly amazing dinner. Cooking for me is a way to express myself its my creative outlet. I enjoy making all types of food but especially enjoy baking, I live in Brooklyn, NY, and I share my home with my two dogs Izzy and Nando. I like to collect cookbooks and scour magazines and newspapers for recipes. I hope one day to organize them.

14 Reviews

Karen August 26, 2018
I make lots of this when the farmer's market is full of various types pf eggplants, peppers, onions...I always have it in the freezer - it freezes beautifully - for an easy appetizer for last minute guests on crostini. SO yummy. I like to drizzle the toasts with a little balsamic vinegar.
sdebrango August 27, 2018
It's so delicious and such a great way to showcase summer produce. I never thought of freezing it, brilliant!! Thank you so much.
boulangere April 15, 2013
You're taking me back to Italy! We bought and consumed many jars of caponata for picnic lunches with some fresh bread and bright fruit.
aran.connolly August 25, 2012
finish htis with a whisper of cocoa powder the astringency adds a beautifal kick
fiveandspice June 21, 2011
Yum! I adore caponata! My mind was blown the first time I had it at a friend's house, and I've been addicted ever since.
Kitchen B. June 20, 2011
Love, love, love Caponata. Right now I'm an aubergine fiend - just finished a bowl of Parmigiana. Love this
inpatskitchen June 19, 2011
Lovely take on one of my favorites!
susan G. June 19, 2011
Lucky you to grow up with caponata We love it, and my husband was so taken with it that it became his specialty. He's varied the ingredients with the season, and I loved it with potatoes, even sweet potatoes. I have to steer him away from more sugar, so I like seeing that you only use enought sugar to balance the flavor.
boulangere June 19, 2011
Wow, never thought of using sweet potatoes or white potatoes. When you use whites, are they the thin-skinned waxy type, like fingerlings, or reds?
susan G. June 20, 2011
For the potatoes, any of those, boulangere -- anything you might use in stew-y things. They pick up all the flavors beautifully. We've got to try it with the peppadew. Now that will lift the spirits!
boulangere June 20, 2011
All new ideas. I tend think narrowly of ratatouille, which is pretty darn proscribed. Thank you both for the all new flavor profiles.
boulangere June 19, 2011
You are so clever - I'd never thought of caponata (ratatouille) as picnic fare. It's perfect, and you are so on a roll with all your lovely Mediterranean creations.
Sagegreen June 19, 2011
This looks great; love your photo!
wssmom June 19, 2011
Just reading this makes me think of Mediterranean summers!