The classic Sicilian Caponata


The Caponata’s undisputed stars are some typical poor ingredients like eggplant, tomatoes and basil.

And these ingredients are at the basis of the Sicilian cuisine as a whole.

Common to other recipes, such as Pasta alla Norma and the Parmigiana, eggplant, tomatoes and basil create a mix of scents, colors and flavors that evoke the charm of this beautiful land.

Thanks to the wide Sicily extension, you may have several Caponata variations, such as the addition of pine nuts, as well as crustaceans, octopus or squid, tuna or anchovies, etc.

Whenever you move from one city to another, you always discover a different version of it.

To date, nearly 40 different Caponata recipes have been recorded only in Sicily

Despite the differences, all of them have an unmistakable common denominator: the use of sweet and sour sauce, which gives Sicilian Caponata a unique flavor to vegetables.

The Classic Sicilian Caponata
Print Recipe
Servings Prep Time
4 people 2 hours
Cook Time Passive Time
45 minutes 30 minutes
Servings Prep Time
4 people 2 hours
Cook Time Passive Time
45 minutes 30 minutes
The Classic Sicilian Caponata
Print Recipe
Servings Prep Time
4 people 2 hours
Cook Time Passive Time
45 minutes 30 minutes
Servings Prep Time
4 people 2 hours
Cook Time Passive Time
45 minutes 30 minutes
Ingredients
Servings: people
Instructions
  1. To prepare the Sicilian Caponata start by washing and depriving aubergines of the two ends. Then cut them into cubes of about 1.5 cm per side, cutting first in the vertical direction and then horizontally.
  2. On a tray, arrange a colander and pour the eggplant cubes in it. Then sprinkle with salt and lay a weight on the surface, such as for example ceramic spheres placed in a vessel, and leave it for an hour. This is necessary to drain water from eggplants and let them loose the typical bitter taste.
  3. Meanwhile, after washing the stalks of celery, transfer them on a cutting board and cut into pieces about 1 centimeter wide, and then pour them into a pot with boiling salted water. After 3-4 minutes of cooking, drain and leave to dry on a clean cloth.
  4. Peel the onions, and then slice them ​​very thinly, all slices of equal thickness: in this way they will bake evenly. Let them dry on low heat in a large skillet with 15 g of extra virgin olive oil.
  5. After about ten minutes the onions have softened, and you can add the capers, the pitted black olives and pine nuts. Let it sizzle over high heat for about ten minutes.
  6. Meanwhile wash the tomatoes and cut into cubes of about 1 cm, add them to the pan with the onions and the remaining ingredients and cook for another twenty minutes on low heat.
  7. In another pan, allow to heat 10 g of leaving them fry extra virgin olive oil and pour the diced blanched celery for a few minutes. Then, keep them aside.
  8. After about an hour the eggplant will have lost part of their bitter water, so bring the colander under water and briefly rinse the cubes so that they lose part of the salt and transfer them on a tray covered with a well clean cloth, and dry thoroughly the eggplant cubes.
  9. Fry in a pan with plenty of boiling oil and, after a few minutes of cooking, drain and pour into the baking pan where you cooked initially the onions and the remaining ingredients.
  10. Now, add the pan-fried celery cubes and stir briefly, then add sugar and the white vinegar.
  11. Let soften the intense smell of vinegar. Then turn off the heat and add a few leaves of basil chopped by hand. Mix everything and let it rest properly. Your caponata is ready, you just have to taste it!
Recipe Notes

Caponata Storage
The Sicilian Caponata can be stored for 2-3 days at aximum, taking care to place it in the refrigerator in a covered glass container with film on top.

Before serving, bring it back to room temperature, for a couple of hours!

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