Caponata is a Sicilian eggplant dish consisting of a cooked vegetable salad made from chopped fried eggplant and celery seasoned with sweetened vinegar, with capers in a sweet and sour sauce.
5 (or 4 big) eggplants
15 green olives, pitted and halved
2 tbsp capers, rinsed
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
140 gms – 5 oz. concentrated tomato paste
2 big onions, chopped
3 celery stalks, chopped
150 ml – 5 oz. red wine vinegar
1 tbsp sugar
Cut the aubergines in cubes (3×3 cm – 1.2×1.2 inches) and put them in a bowl with cold salty water for half an hour (1). Then, pat them dry (2) and deep fry them in hot vegetable oil (3). When ready, put them in a plate lined with kitchen paper to drain the excess oil.
Blanch the chopped celery in salty boiling water.
Chop the onion, put it in a frying pan and cover it with 1/2 glass of water (1) and cook it until the water dries up (2). Then add 3 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil (3) and sauté the onions in it for a minute or 2 (4). Add the tomato concentrate (5), capers, olives and blanched celery with a little of its reserved cooking water and cook the sauce for 5 minutes (6).
Add the fried eggplant cubes and mix gently (1-2-3). Dissolve the sugar in the vinegar and add it to the caponata (4). Cook it for a few minutes on a medium-high flame, then put the fire off and let it cool down.
It is best eaten at room temperature or cold, and it tastes even better after a day or two.