Caponata Recipe

The first thing you probably think upon seeing this caponata recipe is something along the lines of: "I want to eat that. Right now. Give me that so I can eat it." But the second thought might be: "Wait, what exactly is caponata, anyway?"

Long story short, it's fried eggplant dressed to perfection with a host of other veggies, herbs, and seasonings, and it's going to be one of your new favorite vegan foods. That is, unless you serve the stuff over meat, which is a very good way to serve it indeed.

Chef and food writer Maren Epstein of Eating Works says: "I like to serve eggplant caponata over a bed of greens with some goats cheese or burrata. But it's classically served as a room-temperature salad over crusty baguette. It also works well as a garnish over chicken and fish." Or you can dump it atop pasta, rice, or really however you want — this is one of those dishes that's hard to get wrong, both in prep and in however you choose to enjoy it.

Gather and prep your ingredients for this caponata recipe

This whole caponata recipe is about sautéing and blending, with the only prep work being some chopping and slicing. 

Overall, you'll need two eggplants, cubed and salted, one cup plus two tablespoons of oil for frying (keep these two measurements divided), a half cup of water, another half cup of red wine vinegar, two tablespoons of sugar, a small, diced onion, two thinly sliced celery stalks, two cloves of minced garlic, a chopped bell pepper, three-quarters of a cup of green olives, pitted and chopped, a quarter-cup of capers, and 12 ounces of fresh tomatoes, quartered and with the seeds removed.

Cook the eggplant for your caponata recipe

Prep the eggplant for this caponata recipe by placing it in a strainer and seasoning it with salt. Allow it to sit for 30 minutes to absorb plenty of salt, then pat the cubes dry.

Meanwhile, add a cup of oil to a deep frying pan and put it on medium heat, then allow some time for it to heat up. Once the oil is hot, fry the eggplant in batches for five to ten minutes until each cube of eggplant is brown on all sides. (This process can vary depending on how hot your oil is.) 

Remove the eggplant and set it aside on a paper towel-lined plate, and season with a bit more salt. And note that Epstein says: "The only mistake you can make with this recipe is not to fry the eggplant long enough. You should fry it until the eggplant is brown on all four sides."

Make the glaze and cook the rest of this caponata recipe

To prepare the glaze for this caponata recipe, get a small sauce pan and combine the vinegar, water, and sugar. Cook these on medium heat until the mixture becomes syrupy, stirring as needed.

Meanwhile, heat those remaining two tablespoons of oil in a deep skillet. Add the onion and celery and sauté until they are soft and cooked through (which will take about ten minutes). Next, add the garlic and sauté for another minute. Then, add in the bell peppers, olives, capers, and tomatoes. Sauté for another ten minutes or until the vegetables soften, and finally add in the cooked eggplant.

Cook more, pour on the syrup, then serve this caponata recipe

Cook everything until all the veggies soften, things are well mixed, and the juice on the bottom of the pan starts to bubble. Now, add the syrup to the caponata as much (or as little) as desired. Season with salt and pepper and then ... ah, patience. For best taste, allow the caponata to rest in a covered bowl in the fridge for a full day before consuming.

And don't rush to finish it. Epstein explains that: "You can keep it in the fridge for up to a week or longer, it gets better with time!

Caponata Recipe
5 from 17 ratings
What is this caponata recipe, anyway? Long story short, it's fried eggplant dressed to perfection with a host of other veggies, herbs, and seasonings.
Prep Time
30
minutes
Cook Time
35
minutes
Servings
10
servings
caponata recipe served
Total time: 65 minutes
Ingredients
  • 2 eggplants, cubed
  • 1 cup + 2 tablespoons oil for frying, divided
  • ½ cup water
  • ½ cup red wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 onion small, diced
  • 2 celery stalks, thinly sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 bell pepper, chopped
  • ¾ cup green olives, pitted and chopped
  • ¼ cup capers
  • 12 ounces fresh tomatoes, quartered and seeds removed
Directions
  1. Prep the eggplant by placing it in a strainer and seasoning it with salt. Allow it to sit for 30 minutes, then pat dry. Meanwhile, add a cup of oil to a deep frying pan. Allow to heat up. Once the oil is hot, fry the eggplant in batches for 5 to 10 minutes until the eggplant is brown on all sides. This process can vary depending on how hot your oil is. Remove the eggplant and set it aside on a paper towel-lined plate. Season with salt.
  2. Prepare the glaze: In a small saucepan, combine the vinegar, water, and sugar. Cook on medium heat until the mixture becomes syrupy.
  3. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a deep skillet. Add onion and celery sauté until they are cooked through (10 minutes). Next, add the garlic and sauté for another minute. Add in the bell peppers, olives, capers, and tomatoes. Sauté for another 10 minutes or until the vegetables soften. Add the eggplant. Cook until the mixture softens and the juice on the bottom of the pan starts to bubble.
  4. Add the syrup to the caponata as desired. Season with salt and pepper. Allow the caponata to rest for a day before consuming.
Nutrition
Calories per Serving 285
Total Fat 26.3 g
Saturated Fat 2.1 g
Trans Fat 0.1 g
Cholesterol 0.0 mg
Total Carbohydrates 12.6 g
Dietary Fiber 4.6 g
Total Sugars 8.2 g
Sodium 233.4 mg
Protein 1.8 g
The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
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