Caponata di Melanzane

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Appears in

Food of the Sun: A Fresh Look at Mediterranean Cooking

Food of the Sun

By Alastair Little and Richard Whittington

Published 1995

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This cold sweet-and-sour aubergine relish from Sicily goes well with all cold meats, as well as eggs or grilled aubergines, and makes a nice starter with bruschetta. It is unusual in using green olives, where most sauces and relishes - like tapenade - use black. Caponata can also be the main feature of a dish, for example as a topping for crostini or bruschetta, or you can use it to fill bΓΆrek which can are then baked in the oven or deep-fried. The amounts given can be halved but, as preparation time is quite lengthy and since it keeps well filmed with oil in jars stored in the refrigerator, there are sound reasons for making the larger amount.


  • 450 g/1 lb onions
  • 1 celery stalk
  • 225 g/Β½ lb stoned green olives
  • 4 tbsp salt capers
  • 100 ml/3Β½ fl oz olive oil
  • 450 g/1 lb tinned chopped tomatoes
  • 55 g/2 oz caster sugar
  • 100 ml/3Β½ fl oz white wine vinegar
  • 900 g/2 lb small aubergines pepper
  • handful of coriander leaves or flat-leaf parsley



Peel and dice the onions. Destring and thinly slice the celery, chop the olives and rinse and drain the capers.


Fry the onions gently in 4 tablespoons of olive oil, until soft and translucent. Add the chopped tomatoes with their liquid and bubble over a high heat, stirring, until reduced to a thick paste.

Add the celery, olives and capers to the paste, together with the sugar and vinegar and simmer gently over a low heat for 20 minutes, stirring from time to time. Transfer to a bowl to cool.

Peel the aubergines, cut into cubes and fry over a medium heat in the remaining olive oil in a non-stick pan until lightly browned. Stir the cubes into the sauce and leave to cool. Taste and add pepper and a little salt, if necessary.


Scatter with some chopped coriander or parsley just before you serve it. The addition of coriander is not Sicilian, but very good just the same.

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