Mara's Sicilian Aubergine Caponata

Our Hampstead shop manager, Mara, shares this recipe which hails from her native Italy. It is typically served as an antipasti or a side dish.

Serves 4 as a starter


  • 2 aubergines, preferably the round ones
  • 70g pitted black olives ("leccine" is my favourite variety for this recipe)
  • 45g capers, rinsed of their salt
  • 400g tinned chopped tomatoes
  • 30ml of white wine vinegar
  • 30g granulated sugar
  • 1 white onion, finely chopped
  • 2 celery sticks, finely sliced
  • 4-5 leaves of basil
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • salt and freshly ground pepper


  1. Wash the aubergines and cut them in 2cm cubes
  2. In a deep skillet or saucepan fry the aubergine cubes in batches in approximately 4-5cm of sunflower oil; drain on paper towel and set aside
  3. Put 2 Tbsp olive oil in a sauce pan with the onion; sauté onion until golden, then add half of the sugar and allow to caramelise
  4. Add the celery and cook for 5 minutes
  5. Add the tomatoes, olives, vinegar, remaining sugar, capers and basil; bring to the boil and cook for 10 minutes
  6. Add the aubergine and cook for another 15 minutes; season to taste with salt and pepper and serve

BK Tips

  1. Mara loves adding raisins and toasted pine nuts
  2. A hollowed out round loaf of country bread makes a fun serving bowl