Sicilian Eggplant Caponata {Authentic Recipe}
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Caponata {Sicilian Eggplant Salad}

Eggplant Caponata is one of the golden staples of Sicilian cuisine. Try this Authentic recipe full of rich summer flavors!
Prep Time40 mins
Cook Time30 mins
Total Time1 hr 10 mins
Course: Appetizer, Salad, Side Dish
Cuisine: Italian
Servings: 8

Ingredients

  • 3 large eggplants , cut in ½ inch cubes
  • 1 onion , sliced or chopped
  • 3-4 tender celery stalks chopped, approx 1 cup
  • 8 oz green olives , pitted and coarsely chopped (approx 1 cup)
  • Small piece fresh hot pepper or hot pepper flakes
  • 1 cup tomato puree (passata di pomodoro) + some water
  • Handful basil leaves
  • 3 tbsp capers
  • ¼ cup white wine vinegar
  • 3 tbsp sugar
  • Salt to taste
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Vegetable oil for frying

Instructions

Preparing & Frying Eggplants

  • Wash and cut eggplants into large cubes, approx ½ inch. Sprinkle lightly with sea salt, mix and transfer in a colander placed over a deep bowl or over a kitchen sink.
  • Let sit for 1-2 hours, until eggplants start to “sweat” - release liquid.
  • Using your hands, take eggplants in small batch and squeeze out any additional liquid you can. This step will assure they don’t soak up too much oil during frying.
  • Finally, place eggplant cubes between paper towel to get out any remaining liquid.
  • Preheat vegetable oil until it’s hot but not “smoking”. Oil temperature should remain around 365 F / 185 C.
  • Do a test with a small piece of an eggplant first. It should start sizzling right away when placed in the oil and float atop.
  • Fry eggplant cubes until light golden brown, stirring and flipping from time to time.
    Transfer fried eggplants on a paper towel.
    Repeat the process with remaining eggplants.
    Use more paper towel or oil absorbent paper between the layers.

Preparing Veggies And The Sauce

  • In a large skillet pan placed on medium-low heat add a generous splash of extra virgin olive oil. Add sliced or diced onions, a small piece of hot pepper and cook for a few minutes.
  • Once onions start to soften, add celery stalks cut in cubes, pitted green olives and capers previously cleaned from access salt.
  • Also add tomato puree, a few basil leaves (leave more for later) and some water to help all veggies cook nicely in the sauce.
  • Cook on low heat for 10-15 minutes until celery is cooked and the sauce thickened.
  • Add sugar and white wine vinegar. Stir well.
  • Toss in previously fried eggplants, remaining basil leaves and let simmer for another minute or two.
  • Taste for salt, add more only if needed.
  • Serve warm or cold!