Recipe: Sicilian Caponata

The perfect relish for just about anything.

By: Felicia LaLomia, ISDA Contributing Editor 

Like all great Italian recipes, this one is about as exact as your palm size and taste preferences. Caponata is one of the best relishes out there. Put in on a burger, some crusty bread, on the side of any dish, or just straight out of the jar. It can also be personalized for anyone’s taste. So while my family’s recipe goes light on the tomatoes and heavy on the capers, you can test out different amounts to meet your preferences.


  • 1 eggplant, peeled and cut into 1 inch cubes
  • salt to taste
  • 1/4 cup olive oil, divided
  • 1 cup finely chopped celery
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • 1 28 oz can whole, peeled, plum tomatoes
  • 12 green olives, pitted and coursely chopped
  • 3 tablespoons drained capers
  • 3 tablespoons of tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon of oregano, minced
  • 2 tablespoons of red wine vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons of white sugar
  • ground black pepper to taste
  • 2 teaspoons of parsley, minced


  • Chop everything! Start with the eggplant, cutting it in 1-inch cubes. Throw it all into a colander and salt liberally. Let sit for about 30 minutes.
  • Chop the onion, celery, and olives. Mince the garlic and set aside.
  • Place a large and deep pan over medium heat with 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Add the celery and cook for about four minutes, until just softened. Then, add the onion and garlic and cook for about five more minutes, until softened. Transfer to a large mixing bowl and set aside.
  • Rinse and pat dry the eggplant. Heat remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil over same pan. Throw in the eggplant and cook until the sides become browned, about 5 to 7 minutes. Add back in the celery mixture, as well as the tomatoes, olives, capers, oregano, and tomato paste.
  • Bring whole mixture to a boil, then lower to a simmer uncovered for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
    Season with salt, pepper, vinegar and sugar. Finish with parsley.
  • Can in mason jars or keep in fridge for about two weeks.

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