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Eggplant Caponata

This recipe adapted from Martha Rose Shulman for the New York Times. Photo credit Andrew Scrivani for NY Times Credit Scrivani for

Susan Burke March

Prep and cook time: Expect to spend about an hour in the kitchen

Serves six to eight 1-cup servings

I’ve been making this delicious side dish recipe since reading it in the New York Times in 2008.  Penned by Martha Rose Shulman, the brilliant flavors of this Sicilian version of ratatouille pair well with roasted salmon, or as Martha suggests, as a topping for bruschetta.


  • 1 -2 pounds eggplant (1 large or 2 medium), roasted

  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

  • 1 medium onion, chopped (I use sweet, white)

  • 3 large garlic cloves, minced

  • 1 extra-large or 2 large red bell peppers, diced

  • Salt to taste

  • 1 pound ripe tomatoes, preferably Romas, peeled, seeded and finely chopped, or 1 14-oz can crushed tomatoes in puree (400 g) (I always used canned, crushed tomatoes in puree)

  • 3 heaped tablespoons capers, rinsed and drained

  • 3 tablespoons coarsely chopped pitted green olives (or a combination of green and black pitted olives)

  • 2 tablespoons sugar, plus a pinch

  • 3 tablespoons red, white, or sherry vinegar (more to taste - I always use sherry vinegar)

  • Freshly ground pepper to taste


1. Roast the eggplant, then allow to cool. Chop coarsely. I use my toaster oven preheated to 400 F or 205 C - cut the tops of the eggplant off, prick the skin, and roast on a baking pan, turning every 15 minutes until the eggplant is soft, about 25-30 minutes. Let cool until you can handle, cut in half lengthwise, and scoop out the eggplant.

2. Heat one tablespoon of the oil over medium heat in a large, heavy nonstick skillet, then add the onion and celery. Stir until the onion softens, about five minutes, and add the garlic. Cook together for a minute, until the garlic begins to smell fragrant, and add the peppers and 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Stir until just tender, about eight minutes. Add another tablespoon of oil and the eggplant, and stir together for another five minutes, until the vegetables are tender. The eggplant will fall apart, which is fine. Season to taste.

3. Add the tomatoes to the pan with about 1/2 teaspoon salt and a pinch of sugar. Cook, stirring and scraping the bottom of the pan often, for five to 10 minutes, until the tomatoes have cooked down somewhat and smell fragrant. Add the capers, olives, remaining sugar and vinegar. Turn the heat to medium-low and cook, stirring often, for 20 to 30 minutes, until the vegetables are thoroughly tender and the mixture is quite thick, sweet and fragrant. Season to taste with salt and pepper, and remove from the heat.

4. Allow to cool to room temperature. If possible, cover and chill overnight. Serve at room temperature. It will keep up to 3-5 days in the refrigerator.

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