There are lots of versions of Caponata but this easy Sicilian Caponata is sure to please!
I enoyed this first at a wine tasting and was so glad when the hostess shard the recipe!!
This is a great appetizer dish because you can serve it room temperature or chilled. It also makes a great addition to a charcuterie platter.
Decades or centuries ago it was serve as a main course but nowadays you tend to see it as an appetizer. Having said that you could also serve it like you would a chutney as an accent to eggplant parmigiana or chicken parmigiana.
This makes a great choice for a picnic as well since it is easy to transport and serve lightly chilled or ambient temperature. There is no meat or dairy or mayonnaise that concern many picnic goers.
You just need a cracker or bread to serve as your delivery mechanism! Having said that I have seen it served in a tiny cup with a tiny spoon, as is, for low carb folks.
This recipe is also gluten free, vegetarian, vegan and low carb so it ticks a lot of boxes for people on specific food regimes!
The recipe as written makes about 3 cups so you may want to consider halving it if you are not serving a crowd.
- amount will vary depending on the size of your eggplant
- dice the vegetables finely and try to make them similar in size
- unseasoned tomato sauce is fine. A lightly seasoned sauce would also be fine but avoid heavily seasoned ones or that flavour will dominate the caponata and overwhelm the other ingredients.
Wine Pairing for Sicilian Caponata
Keeping with the Sicilian theme would be fun so on the red spectrum you could look for a Nero d'Avola, Nerello Mascalese or Etna Rosso. Otherwise look for a flavourful red like a Merlot, Barbera or Ripasso.
On the white spectrum look for Grillo or Etna Bianco if you want the Sicilian theme. Otherwise a White Grenache, a medium bodied Chardonnay or a white Bordeaux blend.
If you are looking for more Eggplant recipes consider this Baba Ganoush-type Roasted Eggplant Dip - no tahini required!
or consider serving the Caponata beside this Eggplant Parmigiana.
- 2 medium eggplants
- 3 Tbsps Extra Virgin Olive Oil divided 2 + 1
- 2 celery stalks peeled and ends trimmed
- 3 medium carrots peeled and ends trimmed
- 1 medium onion
- ⅓ cup tomato sauce basic is fine
- 10 large olives pitted and finely chopped
- 2 Tbsps capers rough chopped
- ⅓ cup roasted almonds rough chopped
- ⅔ cup raisins rough chopped
- 2 Tbsps honey
- 1 small bunch of basil chopped finely
- ½ cup red wine vinegar
- salt and pepper to taste
- Wash and trim the stem off the eggplant. Dice finely. Heat olive oil in a very large non-stick pan or dutch oven, over medium heat and fry the eggplant. Transfer to a large bowl.
- Mince the onion, celery and carrot. Heat the remaining tablespoon of oil and cook the onion until translucent, about 7 minutes. Add the celery and carrot and cook a further 8-10 minutes until carrots are soft.
- Add the tomato sauce and basil leaves and cook a further 10 minutes.
- Return eggplant to the skillet, salt and pepper liberally. Add the almonds, capers, olives, raisins, honey and vinegar. Cook until vinegar has evaporated, then remove pan from heat.
- Allow to cool to room temperature. Serve room temperature or chilled.
- This also freezes well. Flavours and textures hold up very well. Store in serving size airtight containers up to 3 months. Defrost and serve!