ingredients
  • Extra virgin olive oil 7 tbsp
  • Eggplants 3 large, cubed
  • shallots 2, chopped
  • Plum tomatoes 4 large, chopped
  • Capers 2 tsp
  • Raisins 3 1/2 tbsp
  • Celery sticks 4, sliced
  • Red wine vinegar 3 1/2 tbsp

For a mouthwatering vegetarian dish packed with flavor, you need to try caponata. This quintessential Sicilian recipe is made from eggplants, tomatoes, shallots, and capers. The result is a phenomenal dish with a slightly sweet, slightly sour flavor served on beautifully grilled toasts, also known as bruschetta. If you've never had the pleasure of trying caponata before, it's similar to the French ratatouille. Although caponata is simple to make, it's incredibly flavorful, and a great way to enjoy a healthy serving of veggies.

How to Make Eggplant Caponata

Heat the olive oil in a large pan. Add the eggplants and cook over medium heat for 15 to 20 minutes, until soft.

Using a slotted spoon, remove the eggplants from the pan and set aside. Add shallots, and cook for 5 minutes, until they turn translucent.

Add the tomatoes and gently cook until they break down. Slide the eggplants back into the pan, then add the celery, raisins, capers, and red wine vinegar. Stir, then cover with a lid.

Turn the heat down to low and cook for 40 minutes. Serve over bruschetta.

What is Eggplant Caponata?

Caponata is a traditional Sicilian dish noted for its fantastic agrodolce or sweet and sour flavor. Eggplants star at the center of the dish, supported by ripe tomatoes, tangy vinegar, and salty capers, and sweet raisins.

The Difference Between Ratatouille and Caponata

While the two dishes are similar – they're both essentially vegetable stews, ratatouille hails from the south of France while caponata is Sicilian. Ratatouille tends to include other vegetables like zucchini, carrot, bell pepper, and various herbs. Caponata has a noticeable sweetness to it due to the addition of raisins, which isn't present in ratatouille.

Instructions


Heat the olive oil in a large pan. Add the eggplants and cook over medium heat for 15 to 20 minutes, until soft.

Using a slotted spoon, remove the eggplants from the pan and set aside. Add shallots, and cook for 5 minutes, until they turn translucent.

Add the tomatoes and gently cook until they break down. Slide the eggplants back into the pan, then add the celery, raisins, capers, and red wine vinegar. Stir, then cover with a lid.

Turn the heat down to low and cook for 40 minutes. Serve over bruschetta.

Notes

Caponata is typically served as an appetizer on toast. You'll also see it in salads with plenty of crunchy croutons.

To add texture, toss in a handful of pine nuts.

Olives make a great addition to this recipe, thanks to their salty-savory flavor. If you'd like to add them to your caponata, roughly chop a small handful of olives, and stir them in at the same stage you're mixing the capers, raisins, and celery into the dish.