Palermitan Caponata Recipe – Sweet and sour Caponata

Today we are talking about Palermitan Caponata recipe which is probably the most worldwide famous Sicilian Caponata. This sweet and sour appetizer had been originally served as side dish, and paired with Pesce Capone (Mahi Mahi fish).

The Caponata is a classic and controversial Sicilian recipe.Speaking about Caponata with more than a Sicilian can get confusing: every person will give you a different recipe swearing that’s the original one: this is because Sicily boasts 37 official variations of Caponata and much more personal family recipes! But the realty which is? In the east side of Sicily they call Caponata somethign that is NOT-Caponata because they use Peperoni and Potatoes …. the real Caponata is different.

Then, of course, every person have their own recipe BUT the basic-recipe is eggplants/olive/basil/capers/onion/winegar and organic olive oil … nothing more. The imitations or modifications are just something else ….

The Palermitan Caponata recipe is prepared into two different solutions:
Firstly: simpler in ingredients
Secondly: enriched with pine nuts, raisin and roasted almonds especially in the Trapani province (south-west)

Here the traditional recipe of Palermitan Caponata!


  • 1.5 Lb purple-black eggplants (700 g)

  • 1 big onion

  • 1 celery stick

  • Tomato sauce(100g)

  • 1 tbsp capers in sea salt

  • 12 green olives, pitted

  • 6 basil leaves

  • 2 tbsp sugar (necessary for the Agrodolce)

  • 1 tbsp white wine vinegar(necessary for the Agrodolce)

  • Extra-virgin olive oil (300 ml)

  • to taste table salt

First of all dice the eggplants into cubes about 1.5 inches per side, then pour the pieces into a colander seasoning them with 2 tbsp of coarse salt.Now place the strainer into a bowl or directly into the sink and let the salt purge the dark liquid of the eggplants for at least 1 hour up to 3 hours.

White Wine Vinegar and sugar shaked together

Cut the onion into slices about 1/2 inches thick, then sauté them over medium heat along with 2 tbsp of organic olive oil and 1 pinch of salt until tender and translucent. Add a small size of warm water and continue to make the soffritto. Finally, turn off the heat and put the saucepan aside.


  1. Once properly purged, rinse the eggplants pieces under running water and brush away any trace of salt. Then, dry the eggplants accurately with a kitchen towel pressing gently.

  2. Then, fry the eggplants a little at a time until brown.

  3. Now, raise the vegetable cubes and dry over paper towels.

  4. After that, rinse the celery stick and cut it into pieces 1 inch long. Cut also the green olive and wash the solt-capers.

  5. Then, cook the celery into boiling water 4 minutes.

  6. Cook olive and capers into boiling water for 4 minutes too.

  7. Finally, raise the pieces and dry over kitchen towels.


  1. Now, take the boiled celery and pour it into the onions soffritto for 3 minutes. Then add the boiled capers and green olive along with the tomato sauce. Cook alltogether for 10 minutes and add the agrodolce. Sautè 2 minutes and finally add the fried eggplants and basil leaves and raise the flame.

  2. Let the caponata become cold and put into the fridge.

  3. Eat the caponata the day after and NOT the same day.

That’s all from Sicily!