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These sweet and sour marinated vegetables have Sicilian origins. Serve as a side dish or slather on some thick crusty Italian bread.

11 October, 2023
Average: 2.5 (8 votes)


Dietary Consideration

Season & Occasion

serves for


total time

1 HR 10 MIN


Tomato sauce
280ml/9.5 fl oz
200g/7 oz, green
35g/1.2 oz
35ml/1.2 fl oz
35g/1.2 oz
100g/3.5 oz
Oil for frying
Extra virgin olive oil
60ml/2 fl oz


Step 01

Cut the aubergines into cubes and leave them for an hour on a tray, covered with coarse salt.

Step 02

Heat the oil in a pan and fry them well, then drain over a paper towel to absorb the excess oil.

Step 03

Dice the celery and boil it for 4 minutes to make it more tender.

Step 04

In a separate pan, in a bit of olive oil, sauté the olives (without pits) together with the capers and celery.

Step 05

Add the tomato sauce, vinegar and sugar. Then add the fried aubergine and let it absorb the flavours for a few minutes over a very low flame.

Step 06

Give the pan a shake from time to time so that nothing sticks to the bottom.

Step 07

Heat the oven and toast the almonds for about 5 minutes. Check salt and add more if needed.

Step 08

Serve the caponata cold, covered with the slivered almonds. It’s also delicious at room temperature and is even better the next day.


Tips & tricks

  • Of the many different kinds of aubergine, Sicilian aubergines are unsurprisingly the best suited to caponata, but there’s plenty more to try.
  • Caponata is delicious eaten the next day as a side to accompany chicken or fish.
  • If you don’t have slivered almonds to sprinkle over the top, try toasted pine nuts.

What does caponata mean?

Like many traditional Sicilian dishes, the origins of the name caponata are hard to pin down. Some believe it is derived from Catalan, others that it’s linked to the Sicilian word for a sailors’ tavern, caupone. What is not up for debate is how delicious caponata is – Sicilian cuisine is some of the most varied in Italy and can be both complex and unexpectedly simple.

This recipe was updated on 11/10/2023.

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