Salvatore’s Caponatina ala Siciliana (Caponata)

Georgia Grown

Chef Jessica Rothacker, Heirloom Café & Fresh Market, Athens

Yield: 6 Servings

While October is near the end of the season for eggplant, with the mild weather that we have had this year, it is likely that it will be prolific into the month this October. The following recipe was taught to me by Salvatore Toscano when I staged in his Osteria, Mangiando Mangiando in Greve in Chianti, Tuscany. While most of the dishes on his menu are hyper local and traditional to Tuscany, Salvatore’s grandmother was Sicilian, and he serves Caponata in her memory. Perfect with a lush Sangiovese served outside on an unseasonably warm fall afternoon, the brightness of this dish is a lovely start to a meal or a great snack to pass around during happy hour.


  • 3 tablespoons Georgia Olive Farms extra virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
  • 2 onions, julienned
  • 2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1 large Italian eggplant or 5 Japanese eggplant, cut into 1/3 inch cubes
  • 1 cup large diced sweet red peppers
  • 1 bunch celery, 1/4 inch slices
  • 1/3 cup capers, drained and rinsed
  • 2/3 cup pitted Kalamata olives, drained and rough chopped
  • 2/3 cup green olives, drained and rough chopped
  • 1/2 bunch basil, leaves picked off stems
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1/3 cup water


Add olive oil to a heavy saute pan and bring up to medium high heat. Add in onions, garlic, peppers, & celery and cook about 5 minutes, until softened and onions are translucent. Add in eggplant, capers, olives, salt, vinegar, sugar, tomato paste, & water. Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer. Cook for 20 minutes until eggplant has softened and flavors have melded together. Tear basil leaves into pot and stir in. Cook 2 minutes longer. Remove from heat and spread out in a shallow casserole dish. Chill. Serve with a drizzle of olive oil over the top and spread over grilled or toasted rustic country Italian bread or Ciabatta slices.