Caponata (Sicilian Eggplant Relish)

  • Yield: Serves 6 1x


  • 1 large eggplant
  • 1 tablespoon Kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 white onion, diced
  • 2 ribs celery, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 cup capers, rinsed
  • 1/3 cup Castelvetrano olives, pitted and roughly chopped
  • Pinch red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 12 teaspoons granulated sugar
  • 1 cup diced canned tomato


  1. Chop off top and bottom of eggplant. Peel, leaving a few thin strips. Cut into 1-inch cubes. Spread on half a clean dish towel, sprinkle with salt and fold over towel. Place a baking sheet and 2 heavy cans on top of the eggplant and let it sit while preparing other ingredients, at least 30 minutes. Rinse eggplant thoroughly in a colander. Finally, fold eggplant back up in the towel and squeeze out liquid over the sink.
  2. In a heavy-bottomed pot heat olive oil over medium heat. Cook onions down, 8-10 minutes. Add celery and garlic and sauté, 10 minutes. Remove these vegetables to a plate. Add a little more olive oil to the pan, if necessary. Reduce heat to medium low, add eggplant and cook without stirring, 10 minutes. Use a wooden spoon to scrape up bits from the bottom. Add vinegar. Stir in capers, olives, red pepper flakes, tomatoes, and sugar to taste. Return vegetables to the pot. Cover and simmer over low heat, 15-20 minutes.
  3. Allow the caponata to marinate in the refrigerator for at least 8 hours, but better overnight. Serve heaped on slices of crusty or toasted Italian or French bread. Can be fridge-cold or room temperature.