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Sweet & Sour Eggplant Relish (Caponata)

Scott Phillips

Yield: Yields about 4 cups.

Tangy-sweet caponata is best made a day ahead so its flavors have time to mingle. Serve at room temperature with pita chips or other crisps as a snack or hors d’oeuvre. It keeps for about a week in the refrigerator.


  • 1 medium eggplant (about 1-1/2 lb.), unpeeled, top and bottom trimmed 1/2 inch thick 
  • Kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil; more as needed
  • 3 large inner ribs celery, sliced crosswise
  • 1 small yellow onion, chopped
  • 1/2 yellow bell pepper, cut into 1/2-inch dice
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, cut into 1/2-inch dice
  • 1-14 oz. can diced tomatoes (with their juices)
  • 2 Tbs. red-wine vinegar
  • 4 tsp. granulated sugar
  • 2 anchovy fillets, minced (optional)
  • 1/4 cup green olives, pitted and slivered
  • 3 Tbs. drained and rinsed capers (coarsely chopped if large)

Nutritional Information

  • Nutritional Sample Size per 1 Tbs.
  • Calories (kcal) : 58
  • Fat Calories (kcal): 44
  • Fat (g): 5
  • Saturated Fat (g): 1
  • Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 1
  • Monounsaturated Fat (g): 3
  • Cholesterol (mg): 0
  • Sodium (mg): 93
  • Carbohydrates (g): 3
  • Fiber (g): 1
  • Protein (g): 1


  • Cut the eggplant into 1-inch cubes. Spread the cubes on a baking sheet lined with paper towels, sprinkle with 1 Tbs. salt, and let sit for 1 hour. Pat dry with more paper towels; there’s no need to rinse.
  • Heat the oil in a small Dutch oven or large saucepan over medium-high heat until hot. Working in batches to avoid crowding the pan, fry the eggplant, stirring occasionally, until deep golden brown on several sides, 5 to 6 min. per batch. Adjust the heat as needed to keep the oil hot but not smoking. Transfer each batch with a slotted spoon to dry paper towels to drain.
  • Reduce the heat to medium and if the pan is dry, add 1 tablespoon oil. Add the celery, sprinkle with salt, and cook, stirring frequently, until softened with just a hint of crunch, about 5 min. Transfer the celery to a bowl. If the pan is dry, add 1 Tbs. oil. Add the peppers, sprinkle with salt, and cook, stirring frequently, until softened, 5 to 6 min. Transfer to the bowl with the celery.
  • If the pan is dry, add another 1 Tbs. oil. Add the onion, sprinkle with salt, and cook, stirring frequently, until softened and starting to brown around the edges, 3 to 5 min. Increase the heat to medium high and pour in the tomatoes and their juices. Add the vinegar, sugar, and anchovies, if using. Bring to a vigorous simmer and cook until the juices have thickened slightly to the consistency of tomato soup, 3 to 5 min. Add all the cooked vegetables and the olives and capers. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer for another 5 min. Let cool completely and then cover and refrigerate overnight. Before serving, bring to room temperature and add salt to taste.


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Reviews (1 review)

  • cookwiz | 10/18/2013

    **** I made the recipe without the anchovies -- I think I will include them next time I make it.Very good.

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