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Sicilian Eggplant Caponata

Updated on September 7, 2015
Home-made Caponata on Fresh Bread
Home-made Caponata on Fresh Bread | Source

Caponata, a Montalbano Favourite

I've fallen a little in love with eggplants. And maybe a little in love with Inspector Montalbano too. The books and TV episodes aren't just smart and witty detective mysteries, they're also a tribute to the glories of Sicilian food.

You can serve Caponata in so many ways

And so we come to the eggplant, or aubergine, or melanzana, and a dish which is waiting for Montalbano when he comes home for lunch.

Caponata. It's somewhere between a salad and a stew.

You can pile caponata on top of fresh crusty bread for a perfect lunch. Use more liquid and pour it as a sauce over pasta for a hearty vegetarian dinner, or on its own in a bowl with bread to dip on the side.

Montalbano enjoys a light lunch of caponata with an artichoke/spinach pistaccio

Back in the house, he opened the refrigerator. Adelina must have come down with an acute form of vegetarianism. Caponata and a sublime pasticcio of artichokes and spinach. He set the table on the veranda and wolfed down the caponata as the pasticcio was heating up. Then he reveled in the pasticcio.

--The Paper Moon (Inspector Montalbano Mysteries)

Eggplants or Aubergines

Basket of Eggplants
Basket of Eggplants | Source

How to Prepare the Eggplants

You can steam eggplants, or eat them fried, stir-fried, boiled, sauteed or cooked in the microwave. If you're feeling creative, stuff them. I like to bake mine.

Like its cousin, the tomato, the eggplant has edible thin skin, so peeling is your choice. If you leave the skin on, you add colour and interest. Peeling off the skin gives you a smoother texture.

To avoid any hint of a bitter taste, slice, salt and then rinse. Eggplants can soak up large amounts of cooking fats and oils but the salting process will reduce the amount absorbed.

To salt an eggplant, peel it (optional) and then slice, dice or quarter.

Sprinkle the pieces with salt and let them sit in a colander for an hour.

Rinse the eggplant in plenty of water to remove the salt, firmly squeezing a few pieces at a time in the palm of your hand.

Pat the eggplant dry with paper towels. You have to dry as thoroughly as possible

The Egg(plant) and I

For most of my life I avoided eggplants.

From my childhood years I knew which vegetables couldn't be trusted. I made such a ruckus when confronted with certain vegetables on my plate that my mother, wearily, gave up the battle. Mind you, no one could have called her an expert on cooking vegetables, she had only two methods - boil or bake.

So it wasn't until childhood was well behind me that I discovered such delights as pumpkin and parsnips.

Now I enjoy so many delectable vegetables dishes, I wonder how I ever managed without them. If only my mother could see me now! Come dinnertime, my plate is always heaped with vegetables, glorious vegetables, and one of the most glorious is the eggplant.

Prep time: 20 min
Cook time: 10 min
Ready in: 30 min
Yields: 3 - 6

Caponata Recipe - Ingredients

  • 2 -3 medium Eggplants
  • - peeled sliced and salted
  • 1 -2 medium onions - diced
  • 1.2 cup chopped celery
  • 6 -8 ripe Roma tomatoes or 1 can of diced tomatoes
  • I cup green olives - pitted and sliced
  • 2 TBsp red wine vinegar
  • 1 TBsp sugar
  • A cup of torn flat-leaved parsley
  • A little olive oil
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste
Nutrition Facts
Serving size: 1 serve
Calories 220
Calories from Fat126
% Daily Value *
Fat 14 g22%
Saturated fat 2 g10%
Carbohydrates 16 g5%
Sugar 8 g
Fiber 4 g16%
Protein 2 g4%
Cholesterol 0 mg
Sodium 820 mg34%
* The Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet, so your values may change depending on your calorie needs. The values here may not be 100% accurate because the recipes have not been professionally evaluated nor have they been evaluated by the U.S. FDA.


  1. Take your salted and dried eggplant slices and chop them into wedges.
  2. Lightly mix the wedges together with a little olive oil until each eggplant piece is lightly coated.
  3. Put the wedges on a lined baking tray and cook in a moderate oven for 15- 20 minutes until tender and wilted. I've found that eggplants won't work if they're undercooked, they must be cooked through until soft, smooth, and creamy.
  4. In a pan or saucepan, saute the onion and celery until the onion is clear.
  5. Add the tomatoes and saute for about 10 minutes.
  6. Dissolve the sugar in the vinegar and pour it into the pan. Stir and simmer for 10 minutes.
  7. Add the eggplant wedges and the olives. Stir though on low heat for another 5 minutes. Stir the parsley through.
Cast your vote for Sicilian Caponata Recipe
Caponata in the pot, ready to eat
Caponata in the pot, ready to eat | Source

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This recipe was inspired by

Commissario Montalbano


I love Inspector Montalbano

I love Inspector Montalbano!

I have a passion for a handful of fictional detectives. Salvo Montalbano is one of them.I love the Sicilian food too.

Montalbano always has a nice long lunch and whether his food is prepared at home by his housekeeper, Adelina, or enjoyed in restaurants, the meals are frequent, large and lavish

© 2010 Susanna Duffy

Want to leave a Comment for the Cook? - Here's where you do it!

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    • mariacarbonara profile image


      5 years ago

      I love the way eggplant takes on flavors

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      I too love eggplants. I'm definitely trying this recipe! Thanks.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Caponata sounds wonderful!

    • profile image

      Echo Phoenix 

      6 years ago

      mmmmmmm... I can smell it simmering on the stove:) Yummy lens;)

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      I make caponata and I love it, pile it on slices of bread, the best. I also found Montalbano accidently on my TV and I watch him every Sunday evening without fail, he is so sexy, plus Don Matteo.

      Lucile Stachowiak

    • KReneeC profile image


      6 years ago

      This looks AMAZING! Great lens!

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      ooooh... some interesting recipes here... have not tried caponata before! Since I have some eggplants growing in the vege patch I might just get enough to experiment with these recipes too - sound delicious!

    • LiteraryMind profile image

      Ellen Gregory 

      6 years ago from Connecticut, USA

      I love caponata, although I have never made it before. Maybe I will now. Thanks for the recipe.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      I'd love to eat this, I'm one of those guys who will try something at least once, this so has my vote!

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      i'm sicilian and these are my usual dish :-) Slurp!

    • JanieceTobey profile image


      7 years ago

      Your Sicilian Eggplant Caponata looks sooo good! I'm going to try it!

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Mmm - I enjoy aubergines, but not tried them like this. My favourite is Brinjal Bhaji - a dish often found in Curry Houses here in britain - aubergines in a mild and creamy sauce. Perhaps we can try this one.

    • M Schaut profile image

      Margaret Schaut 

      7 years ago from Detroit

      Wonderful! Seems I can never get enough good eggplant recipes.

    • clouda9 lm profile image

      clouda9 lm 

      7 years ago

      Ooh, ooh! I so wanna smell this lovely caponata simmering on my stove top so I just hit print :) Found your post on the SquidHuddle today. *Blessed

    • SusanDeppner profile image

      Susan Deppner 

      7 years ago from Arkansas USA

      So glad you shared this on the SquidHuddle at today! Wow, this looks totally delicious. Adding eggplant to my shopping list for sure!

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Oh my gosh that looks very tasty. Thanks for sharing.

    • Asinka profile image

      Asinka Fields 

      7 years ago from Los Angeles, CA

      Tasty and Yummy, will try ....

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      I constantly go through different food cravings and eggplant comes around quite regulary. Thanks for a really nice sounding recipe when my next 'need' arises.

    • verymary profile image


      8 years ago from Chicago area

      I don't always <3 eggplant but do like caponata. So flavorful. Nice work!

    • Kylyssa profile image

      Kylyssa Shay 

      8 years ago from Overlooking a meadow near Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA

      Your recipe looks delicious! I love eggplant served many ways so I can't wait to try this one. Thank you for sharing.

    • The-Java-Gal profile image


      8 years ago

      I love eggplant, and all the other ingredients too. Will have to give this a try, as it looks so beautiful in the bowl.

    • RhondaAlbom profile image

      Rhonda Albom 

      8 years ago from New Zealand

      I love eggplant, but I never knew about salting it. I will have to give that a go next time. Thanks for this.

    • mistyriver profile image


      9 years ago

      I love eggplant! Nice lens.

    • SandyMertens profile image

      Sandy Mertens 

      9 years ago from Frozen Tundra

      This looks delicious. I will have to try it.

    • TreasuresBrenda profile image

      Treasures By Brenda 

      9 years ago from Canada

      Great lens, I'm learning to like eggplant. I'd be happy to add this focused recipe lens to Culinary Favorites From A to Z if you'd care to submit it.

    • seashell2 profile image


      9 years ago

      I haven't eaten a lot of eggplant but I think I'd enjoy it in Stirfrys! Thanks for sharing! :-)


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