Sicilian caponata

Sicilian caponata

Green Kitchen Travels

One of the first journeys that Luise and I made together was a road trip in Sicily. We drove around the island with neither a map nor any accommodation booked in advance. I suppose it was a good way to test our fresh relationship. We had a blast. Sometimes we ended up in the most amazing places, such as a hotel from the 1920s, perched on the clifftop in Taormina, with a stunning view and freshly squeezed juice from their own orange grove. Other times ... well, they were not as mind-blowing. We even spent one night sleeping in the car, to save our budget after a few too many extravagant restaurant bills. Another trick to keep our expenses to a minimum was to restrict our lunches to a single serving of caponata. This vegetable-packed dish is normally served as a side in Italy, but when combined with some bread it is enough to keep a young couple happy until dinner. Nowadays we still make this as a main course, together with some wholegrain pasta or thinly shaved zucchini noodles, but it can also be served as a side to most dishes. — David


Quantity Ingredient
2 tablespoons cold-pressed olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
1 large aubergine, cut into large cubes
1 red pepper, seeded and cut into large cubes
2 teaspoons dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon dried chilli flakes
2 garlic cloves, sliced
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 small handful parsley, finely chopped
1 small handful mint leaves, finely chopped
4 ripe tomatoes, cut into large cubes
1 large handful green olives, pitted
4 tablespoons pickled capers, drained
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar


  1. Heat the oil in a large frying pan. Add aubergine, pepper, oregano and chilli and cook over a medium heat for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. When the aubergine and pepper are browned on all sides, add the garlic, onion, most of the parsley and mint (reserving a little for garnish) and cook for another 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add a little more oil if needed. Then add the tomatoes, olives, capers and apple cider vinegar and cook for another 20 minutes or until very tender and the aubergine feels very soft.
  2. Serve garnished with the reserved chopped fresh herbs, a drizzle of olive oil. Eat with a piece of wholegrain sourdough bread, if you wish. This can be stored in the fridge for 3–5 days.
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