Recipe courtesy of Catherine Scorsese

Caponatina Siciliana (Eggplant, Olive, and Celery Appetizer)

  • Level: Easy
  • Total: 48 hr
  • Prep: 48 hr
  • Yield: 8 to 10 servings
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2 large eggplants

Salt to taste

1 jar (6 1/2 ounces) oil-cured black olives, pitted and halved

1 jar (5 3/4 ounces) green olives with pimiento, drained and halved

1 jar (3 ounces) capers, drained

2 cups water

4 large stalks celery, diced

1/2 to 2/3 cup olive oil

2 large onions, sliced

2 cans (16 ounces each) tomato sauce

Freshly ground pepper, to taste

1/4 cup sugar

1/2 cup red wine vinegar


  1. Trim the eggplants, cut them into 1-inch cubes, and transfer them to a colander. Sprinkle with salt and let them stand for 30 minutes. Rinse, drain well, and pat dry. In a bowl, combine the black olives, green olives, and capers. Cover with warm water and let them plump for 20 minutes. Drain well. In a saucepan of boiling water, blanch the celery for 1 to 2 minutes, or until just tender. Drain and pat dry. In a large skillet set over moderately high heat, heat 3 tablespoons of the oil until hot. Add the eggplant in small batches and cook it, stirring occasionally and adding 3 to 4 tablespoons of water to prevent sticking, until just tender and golden brown. Transfer the fried eggplant to a bowl and, adding oil and water as needed, fry the remaining eggplant. Add 2 tablespoons of oil to the skillet and heat until hot over moderate heat. Add the onions and cook, stirring occasionally, just until tender. Add the tomato sauce, 2 cups of water, the reserved eggplant, olives, capers, celery, and salt and pepper. Simmer the mixture over low heat, stirring occasionally, for 30 minutes. In a small bowl, combine the sugar and vinegar, stirring until dissolved. Add the sugar mixture to the eggplant mixture and stir to combine. Transfer the caponatina to a bowl, let it cool to room temperature, and chill it, covered, for 1 to 2 days to allow the flavors to blend.

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