Eggplant Caponata
Slightly burnished cubes of eggplant tossed with fresh tomatoes, capers and olives, make Eggplant Caponata a beautiful addition to the late-summer table.
  • 4 or more Tablespoons olive oil
  • (2) medium eggplants (4-6 cups cubes), ends removed and chopped into cubes
  • (1) medium onion, peeled and chopped
  • 2-3 medium tomatoes (I like plum or San Marzano as they have a firmer flesh) peeled, cored and chopped
  • ½ teaspoon granulated cane sugar (or more depending on your tomatoes and your desire for sweetness)
  • (4) celery spears from the heart (not the tough outer spears) optional
  • (2) Tablespoons capers*, rinsed and drained
  • ¼ cup chopped green olives
  • 2 Tablespoons red wine or sherry vinegar
  • 2 Tablespoons pine nuts, toasted **
  • Basil leaves, chopped, optional
  • Sea salt and pepper, to taste
  1. Put cubed eggplant into a large bowl and coat lightly but evenly with olive oil, about 2 tablespoons.
  2. Lightly oil a large stainless steel fry pan (do not use non-stick, teflon or cast iron) and set over medium heat. Once hot, add the eggplant and toss over the heat. The eggplant will absorb all of the oil and will start to lightly stick to the pan. That is ok! Keep tossing and the eggplant will brown.
  3. Once the eggplant is browned and softened, remove to a plate. Sprinkle lightly with salt.
  4. Add a tablespoon of olive oil, or more to coat your pan, and add onion and celery (if using). Stir until softened, about 3-5 minutes.
  5. Add chopped tomatoes, sugar, capers and olives. Cook over medium heat until tomatoes are cooked through and celery is softened, about 10 minutes. Scrape the pan to loosen any stuck-on bits and continue to stir occasionally. (Do not boil rapidly, rather gently simmer)
  6. Add the eggplant and stir to combine. Cook over medium heat for another 5 minutes until completely combined and gently softened.
  7. Remove from heat, add vinegar, pine nuts and basil (if using). Stir to combine and taste. Adjust seasoning, if needed. Drizzle with olive oil.
  8. While you can serve immediately. It is probably best served after a night in the fridge and let to sit out at least 20 minutes.
  9. Serve as a dip for toasted pita triangles, atop pizza dough with slices of fresh mozzarella for a pizza, on top of pasta with fresh parmesan or on large slices of toasted bread for a tartine.
  10. To make this as an appetizer bruschetta, cut vegetables into a small dice and spoon atop toasted baguette slices.
*Capers are usually available in brine or salted. Regardless, they should be rinsed to remove excess salt. Be mindful when seasoning that the capers and olives can add a lot of salt so you may want to under-salt while cooking and add more at the end before serving, if needed.
**Toast pine nuts in a dry stainless steel fry pan. Toss in a hot pan until lightly browned. Do not look away! It takes just a moment to go from brown to burnt. i have also put into a toaster oven but again, keep a close eye.
Recipe by FamilyandForks at