The origins of caponata date back to ancient times when in the aristocratic families a particular type of fish the capone, was prepared with a sweet-and sour sauce. The people not were not able to afford fish substituted it with eggplants and gradually added other vegetables to the original recipe.
Caponata is usually prepared during the summer season when eggplants, the main ingredient, are at their best. There are different versions of caponata depending on the area and family traditions.
Together with the eggplants, various ingredients are used to prepare this delicious and tasting dish: onions, celery, carrots, peppers, green olives, and capers from Pantelleria.
Making caponata during the summer may be considered a bit laborious because of the warm temperature. but the result is certainly worth the effort.
- 6 medium-sized eggplants
- 3 big white onions
- 3 carrots
- 2 celery stalks
- 1 pepper
- 1 cup pitted green olives
- 3 Tbs. pickled capers
- ½ cup tomatoes sauce
- ½ cup white vinegar
- 2 Tbs. sugar
- Frying oil
Dice and salt the eggplants letting them drain for 1 hour. In the meantime peal and thinly slice the onions, carrots, celery and pepper.
In a large pan fry the eggplants and remove from the pan placing them in a large bowl. Individually fry the other vegetables removing from the pan and putting together with the fried eggplant. Using the same pan gently sauté the olives with the capers. Add the tomatoe sauce and when it starts thickening add the vinegar and the sugar. Stir and add the other vegetables.
The caponata can be served as “antipasto” or as a side dish.