Caponata

One of the most popular salads in Sicilian cuisine is caponata (eggplant salad). While eggplant is the main ingredient, the salad likely takes its name from one of the secondary ingredients—capers. You’ll find eggplant in many Sicilian dishes, and it’s used in many ways, including in both sweet and savory meals. I like to make caponata because it’s a quick dish that tastes like it took a lot of time to create. It’s great fresh from the stove, or left over as a chilled salad. It’s normally served as an appetizer, but you can also serve it with bread as a main course.

You’ll Need:

  • 6 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 celery stalks, chopped
  • 1 lb. eggplant
  • 14 oz. granulated sugar
  • 21 ⁄ 3 c. red wine vinegar
  • 1 oz. capers, drained
  • 14 oz. tomatoes, chopped
  • 13 ⁄ 4 oz. green Sicilian olives
  • 1 tbsp. fresh parsley, chopped (for garnish)
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

Heat 2 tbsp. of the oil in a large skillet. Add onions, garlic and celery to the skillet and cook, stirring, for 3 to 4 minutes. Using a sharp knife, slice the eggplant into thick round slices. Now slice the eggplant into fours, and add to the skillet with the remaining oil. Cook for 5 minutes, or until golden. Add the sugar, olives and tomatoes, and stir until the sugar dissolves. Add the red wine vinegar, then reduce the heat and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes. Make sure the eggplant is tender and the sauce is thick. Add the capers, salt and pepper to the mixture. Stir a few minutes, then transfer to a serving dish and garnish with parsley.

Chef Bruno is PMQ’s culinary advisor, with 40 years of international pizza experience. He is the corporate chef for Marsal & Sons, and the culinary coach of the U.S. Pizza Team.