With its sweet, sour, crunchy, saucy vegetables, caponata is one of the most famous Sicilian dishes and for good reason. It’s delicious paired with grilled bread, used as an antipasti spread or as a main course when tossed with pasta.
Authentic original sizilianische caponata is full of agrodolce “sour and sweet” flavors from the eggplant, red wine vinegar and golden raisins. It is a dish that has many variations across Sicily and every town, even every family, has their own version.
This recipe from Miriam Hahn is inspired by her childhood in Palermo and the version she learned from her mother, who was a traditional cook. She recommends starting with the prep work: dicing and washing an eggplant, which should be sprinkled with salt and drained to reduce its water content. It’s also worth rinsing and drying the onion and celery, which should then be diced. Heat a little oil in a pan, add the onion and celery and saute them until they are soft.
Sicilian Soul Food: Crafting a Homemade Caponata That Wows
The fried eggplant should then be added to the onion celery mixture and cooked for a couple of minutes, along with olives, capers and tomato passata. At this point, add the sugar and the vinegar and simmer the whole thing for about two minutes, stirring well. Add salt, decorate with basil leaves and serve warm or cold.
This dish is easy to prepare ahead and will keep in the refrigerator for a few days. It can also be frozen for later use.