Chef's Recipes


Australian Gourmet Traveller recipe for caponata by Pete Evans.

By Pete Evans
  • 30 mins preparation
  • 40 mins cooking
  • Serves 4
  • Print
"How often is it that a vegetable dish has its own name? The one that springs to mind as being a perfect accompaniment to any Italian meal is the humble caponata, a Sicilian dish of eggplant cooked with capers and vinegar," says Evans. "It marries so well with a simple piece of steamed or grilled seafood, poultry, game or meat (lamb, beef and pork). My advice is to make a big batch and serve it throughout the week. It's also delicious served on top of fried eggs."


  • 40 gm (1/4 cup) pine nuts
  • 210 ml macadamia oil
  • 2 large eggplants (about 480gm each), cut into 2cm dice
  • 1 onion, cut into 1cm dice
  • 1 celery stalk, cut into 1cm dice
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 red capsicum, seeded, cut into 1cm dice
  • 4 Roma tomatoes, cut into 1cm dice
  • 80 gm pitted Kalamata olives, halved
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 60 ml (1/4 cup) extra-virgin olive oil
  • 60 ml (1/4 cup) red wine vinegar
  • 35 gm (1/4 cup) salted baby capers, rinsed and drained
  • 2 tbsp dried currants
  • Finely grated rind of ½ orange
  • To serve: coarsely chopped flat-leaf parsley and basil


  • 1
    Preheat oven to 180C. Roast pine nuts on an oven tray in a single layer, stirring occasionally, until golden (8-10 minutes). Set aside.
  • 2
    Heat 180ml macadamia oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat until hot, then fry eggplant in batches, stirring occasionally, until golden (6-7 minutes). Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels.
  • 3
    Heat remaining macadamia oil in a separate frying pan over medium heat, add onion and celery, and stir occasionally until light golden (4-5 minutes). Add garlic and stir until fragrant (1 minute), then reduce heat to low, add capsicum, tomatoes, olives and honey, and stir occasionally until tomatoes soften (15 minutes). Remove from heat, then add extra-virgin olive oil, vinegar, capers, currants, rind, eggplant and pine nuts, and stir gently to combine. Season to taste and serve warm or at room temperature, scattered with parsley and basil.