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Caponata di Melezana (Sicilian Style Sweet and Sour Eggplant) (From Stores for Cooks, 5-6/02)

side dishes
Joe George
Prep Time
30 minutes
Number of Servings
makes 2 cups
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium eggplant, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1 small onion, peeled and diced
3 stalks celery, diced
1 clove garlic, peeled and minced
1-1/2 cups canned plum tomatoes, drained and diced
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 tablespoon capers, drained and rinsed
6 green olives, pitted and chopped
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
2 tablespoons minced fresh basil

Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the diced eggplant and saute for 5 minutes, or until it begins to brown. Using a slotted spoon, remove the eggplant from the pan and set aside. In the same hot pan add the diced onion and celery; saute until translucent but not browned. Stir in the garlic and saute a minute or two longer. Add the eggplant back into the pan along with the diced tomatoes, vinegar, sugar, tomato paste, capers, olives, salt, and pepper.

Gently stir the ingredients. Bring the mixture to a simmer and cook it for approximately fifteen minutes, stirring frequently. Stir in the minced basil. Taste the caponata, and if necessary adjust the seasoning with more vinegar, sugar, or salt. Serve caponata hot, cold, or at room temperature as a relish/dip or side dish.