Eggplant caponata: rediscovering a traditional recipe

Eggplant caponata: rediscovering a traditional recipe

Olio Farchioni
5 from 1 vote
A simple and tasty recipe, ideal as a side dish or as a main course, accompanied with homemade bread. 
Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 40 mins
Total Time 1 hr
Course Side Dish, Single Dish
Cuisine Italian
Servings 4 people
Calories 350 kcal


  • Colander
  • Pan
  • Cloth
  • Slotted spoon


  • 1 kg Eggplant
  • 1 white Onion 
  • 4 sticks Celery 
  • 250 g Tomato puree
  • 1 tablespoon salted Capers 
  • 100 g pitted black Olives 
  • to taste Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • to taste Olive Oil
  • 1/2 glass white Vinegar 
  • 1,5 tablespoons Sugar 
  • to taste fresh Basil


  • Cut the eggplant into cubes and put them in a colander. 
  • Sprinkle with coarse salt, cover with a cloth and let it drain. 
  • In the meantime, wash the celery, cut it into small pieces and put it in a pan with water. 
  • When water has completely evaporated, add the chopped onion and fry in plenty of extra virgin olive oil. 
  • Add capers (after desalting them), olives cut in half and tomato puree. 
  • After adjusting for salt, cook over low heat until a rather thick sauce is obtained. 
  • Add vinegar and sugar, stir and remove from heat. 
  • Dry the eggplant cubes by dabbing them with a clean cloth then fry them in plenty of hot olive oil. 
  • Once golden, remove the eggplant from heat with a slotted spoon and place it on  kitchen paper. 
  • Add the eggplant to the caponata sauce, mix well, let it  cool and serve with fresh basil leaves.
caponata di melanzane

Today we will cook a great classic of Sicilian tradition: eggplant caponata. There are very many versions of this recipe, at least one for every province of Sicily! We are proposing our own version after providing some tips to guarantee the success of your dish. 

Caponata: what kind of eggplant? 

The best kind of eggplant is the “durona di Palermo”, dark and oval. Its pulp is firm and has  few seeds. It can be easily cut into chunks and does not absorb a lot of oil when fried. If you don’t find this variety, you can opt for purple round eggplant, whose characteristics are quite similar. When buying your eggplant don’t forget that smaller ones taste better and they should be:

  • not too hard or too soft. 

  • shiny, smooth and free from wrinkles. 

  • firm and supple. 

The quality of eggplant is essential to the quality of caponata: make sure to drain it before cooking by sprinkling it with coarse salt and then letting it rest. This will get rid of any bitterness. 

Real caponata requires that the eggplant be deep-fried in olive oil. 

There is no excuse: caponata must be made with fried eggplant, and eggplant must be fried in olive oil. Why not seed oil? There are several reasons why: 

  • Olive oil has a high smoke point and withstands very high temperatures, thus it does not burn, degrade or release harmful substances. 

  • Olive oil is lighter and healthier than seed oil, which contains fats that deteriorate during cooking, and may harm your liver. 

  • Owing to its resistance to heat, olive oil can easily reach 180-190C, i.e. the ideal temperature to fry eggplant and without it getting soggy. 

We used Farchioni Olive Oil, whose delicately fruity flavor and pleasant scent make your fried food dry and light. Remember to use a large pan, and not to skimp on the oil, which will have to cover the eggplant completely. 

One last recommendation: in order to seal the eggplant and prevent it from becoming soggy, make sure your olive oil is very hot before placing the chunks in the pan. 

Now that you know all the secrets, we leave you to your eggplant caponata, wishing you good luck! 

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