Caponata – Kapunata


Caponata is a Sicilian vegetable dish, and it’s brilliantly flexible; you can use it as a side dish, a salad or as a kind of saucy base for cooked meat.  It’s typical of Sicily in its Arab-influenced agrodolce, or sour/sweet flavouring, and is spiked with savoury olives and capers.  It can be served hot, cold from the fridge or at room temperature.


200g eggplants

200g green peppers

125g peeled tomatoes

125g onions

50g capers

50g stoned black olives

50g tomato paste

inner leaves and stalks of a large celery

cloves of garlic

1 tablespoon sugar

60ml white wine vinegar

fresh basil

salt and freshly ground pepper

olive oil


  1. Wash and chop the eggplants into even dice.  Wash the tomatoes and green peppers and cut into medium sized pieces.
  2. Heat a few tablespoons of olive oil in a large, thick-bottomed pan and tip the aubergines and green peppers in.  Fry, stirring all the time, until the vegetables are soft.  Remove them to a bowl.
  3. Peel the garlic and onions and chop in medium sized pieces.  Fry them in some more oil in the same pan until soft.  Wash and chop the celery heart and stalks and add it to the onion mixture.  Add the chopped tomatoes. Continue cooking stirring all the time.  Cook till the celery is tender.
  4. Wash and shred the basil.
  5. Add the cooked aubergines and shredded basil to the pan and cook, stirring gently, for another ten minutes.  Add the vinegar, sugar, stoned olives and capers and cook for another five minutes to take the edge off the vinegar.
  6. Season with salt and pepper.
  7. Serve immediately or put in a serving dish and leave to cool.