There isn't really a standard "recipe" for caponata across Sicily, but this is the ultimate version. It’s a sweet and sour vegetable antipasti that combines eggplant, tomatoes, celery seasoned with sweetened vinegar, salted capers, onions, and green olives. However, do as the Sicilians do and adjust to your own tastes. Mangia! Eat up!
Caponata Siciliana (Sicilian Eggplant Antipasto) [Vegan, Gluten-Free]
- 1 large eggplant, cubed
- Sprinkle of fine sea salt
- 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
- 1 large yellow onion, chopped
- 1/2 cup chopped celery
- 1 (15-ounce) can of diced Italian tomatoes
- 1/2 cup green olives, sliced in half lengthwise
- 3 tablespoons capers packed in salt, rinsed
- 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- Freshly cracked black pepper and fine sea salt, to taste
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Chopped fresh basil
- Place the cubed eggplant in a colander and toss well with a sprinkle of salt. Let the eggplant sit for about an hour. Do not rinse the eggplant. Preheat the oven to 400°F.
- Place the eggplant on a lined baking sheet. Toss with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil and roast for 25-30 minutes, or until it looks slightly browned and has shrunk in size.
- Meanwhile, in a large pan, sauté the chopped onions in 1/4 cup of olive oil, gently, for about five minutes. Add in the celery and 2 tablespoons of water and sauté for another three minutes.
- Add the crushed tomatoes and simmer for about five minutes. Add the olives, capers, vinegar and sugar and simmer for about 10 minutes. Add the roasted eggplant, stir, and simmer for another five minutes.
- Allow dip to sit and marinate for at least one hour (more time is better). You can leave it on the counter or put it in the fridge for later.
- Before serving, add a sprinkle of sea salt, some fresh cracked pepper, and a few glugs of olive oil, if desired.
- Serve at room temperature or warmed with a bit of chopped fresh basil and some crusty bread.
This lasts several days in the fridge and freezes really well!