Recipe: Caponata

Published: Jan. 30, 2023 at 12:40 PM CST
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Recipe courtesy Chef Nino, Rouses Markets


  • 2 pounds of eggplant (1 large or 2 medium)
  • ½ tablespoon salt
  • ¾ cup Rouses Olive Oil
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 2 celery stalks, finely chopped
  • 1 small red pepper, finely chopped
  • 4 tablespoons pine nuts
  • 5 garlic cloves
  • 1 (14-ounce)can San Marzano tomatoes, finely chopped
  • ¼ cup water
  • 4 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 2 tablespoons capers, rinsed (and chopped if large)
  • ½ cup green olives, pitted and finely sliced
  • ½ cup Kalamata olives, pitted and finely sliced
  • Black pepper, to taste
  • 4 tablespoons finely chopped parsley


1. Cut the eggplant into 1-inch cubes and place in layers in a colander, sprinkling each layer with salt as you go. Leave to drain for 30 minutes. Rinse and squeeze the eggplant dry with your hands.

2. Heat ⅓ cup of the oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat. Brown the eggplant in batches over high heat, adding more oil as needed. Remove browned eggplant from pan and drain on paper towels.

3. Add more oil to the pan and reduce the heat to medium. Add the onion and celery and cook for 5 minutes, or until softened but not brown. Add the red pepper, pine nuts and garlic, and cook for 2 minutes. Spoon off any excess oil, and add the tomatoes and ¼ cup water. Simmer for 10 minutes, or until the mixture is quite dry. Season well with black pepper.

4. Add the vinegar, sugar, capers and olives, and cook for 2 to 3 minutes over low heat. Add the eggplant back to the pan and cook for another 5 to 6 minutes, then remove pan from the heat and leave to cool. Add more black pepper if needed. Add the parsley and toss to incorporate before serving.

5. The caponata can be used as a side or as a dip!



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