Featured Recipes

Sicilian Eggplant Relish

Caponata, or capunatina in Sicilian dialect, was always part of our Sunday antipasto plate.  When I began serving Caponata at cocktail parties and buffet suppers, it was the one dish that always disappeared entirely. This relish is also delicious as a topping for crostini.

from Festa del Giardino


3 ripe medium sized eggplants (about 2 1/2 pounds)

salt (to sprinkle on eggplant)

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil plus 1/3 cup pure olive oil

2 large onions, coarsely chopped

4 stalks celery, coarsely chopped

1 12-ounce can of crushed tomatoes or tomato puree

3 fresh basil leaves, slivered

1 teaspoon of salt

1/2 teaspoon of pepper

1/4 cup of capers, drained and rinsed

1 cup of small green olives, pitted and sliced

1 1/2 tablespoons of sugar, or more to taste

scant 1/4 cup of red wine vinegar


  1. Remove the stems from the eggplants and discard. Cut unpeeled eggplant into 1/2 inch cubes and salt liberally.  Drain in a colander with a heavy weight, such as a pot or a glass-mixing bowl, on top for 1 hour to allow the bitter juices to drain off. Rinse of salt, squeeze well and dry with absorbent paper. Set aside.
  2. Heat 3 tablespoons of the olive oil in a large skillet; add the onions and celery and sauté covered for 5 to 8 minutes until slightly softened. Pour in tomatoes, add basil, salt and pepper Simmer for 10 minutes.
  3. In another large skillet, sauté the eggplant in 1/3 cup of hot olive oil. Add more oil if necessary to prevent sticking; (eggplant absorbs a lot of oil as it cooks.) After 15 minutes, transfer the sautéed eggplant to the skillet with the onion-and-celery mixture, stirring until evenly mixed.
  4. Sprinkle the mixture with sugar, pour vinegar over, and stir.  Cover and simmer slowly over low heat for 10 to 15, minutes. Refrigerate foe at least 24 hours, or up to 3 days.  The flavor improves with time.  Serve warm or cold as a antipasto, a salad, or a topping for crostini.  Caponata may be frozen up to 3 months.


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