Casa be Loverly Recipes: Eggplant and fennel caponata

This is one of my favourite recipes and I can’t believe I’ve never blogged it! I love the acidity and sweetness balanced with the fennel and the eggplant and could eat a HUGE amount (truth be told I usually do eat a huge amount!).  It’s a Sicilian dish by origin and is usually served as a dip but I first tried it on my first trip to Italy some years ago at a gorgeous little restaurant in Rome with pasta and that idea has stuck with me ever since.  I love the idea of dip as a pasta sauce and that is what you can see in the pic above as I served it with some ricotta agnolotti. It’s great on bruschetta for lunch and it keeps well in the fridge for a few days too so is perfect healthy and quick lunch fare.

Like most of the recipes I blog it’s a dish that can be prepared in advance and pulled together at the last minute.

1/4 cup sultanas (you’re supposed to use raisins but we always have sultanas in the house and close enough is good enough I reckon)
2 large eggplants, diced (some people like them peeled but not me! some people also like to salt them first but personally, I can’t be bothered!)
half a large bulb of fennel or one small one, diced or sliced, as per your preference
1 and a half teaspoons salt
olive oil
2 onions, diced
2 cloves of garlic, minced/chopped finely
3 tomatoes, diced (some people like to deseed them, not me, too much fuss!) – or one tin of crushed tomatoes
good handful of pine nuts
1/4 cup sugar (it seems a lot but you kinda need it to balance out the acidity)
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/4 cup chopped black olives (I prefer kalamata personally)
2 teaspoons capers, chopped (I like them chopped but you don’t have to
1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped


  • Soak sultanas in a small bowl, just covering with water and drain after 15 minutes – you don’t have to do this but it does make them a bit plumper and yummier
  • If you’re keen on salting the eggplant, do so for half an hour, rinse and drain, then pat dry with paper towel
  • Heat a tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat in a fry pan and saute eggplant until well brown. It takes about 10 minutes.  When done, place the eggplant in a bowl.
  • Heat another tablespoon of oil, saute the onion for a few minutes, then add the garlic and fennel, cooking for about 5 minutes, until soft-ish.
  • Add the tomatoes and saute for a few minutes til it looks all lovely and soft and they’ve made nice friends.  Then put in the same dish with the eggplant
  • Add the pine nuts to the frypan and toast, moving them about until lightly golden – add to the rest of the mixture in the bowl
  • Place sugar and vinegar in fry pan, stirring until the sugar dissolves, then add sultanas, olives and capers, heating through briefly.  Add the eggplant mix from the bowl.
  • Stir all together and let fry for a minute or so, adding parsley at the last minute.
You can eat it warm, room temp or straight from the fridge too!

I’m also playing along with Stacey for Meatless Monday 🙂


1 thought on “Casa be Loverly Recipes: Eggplant and fennel caponata

  1. Veggie Mama

    You know, I'm terrified of putting sultanas in things… but I think I'd actually try this! I am a SUCKER for eggplant, I adore it. You are clever, and thanks for linking up!


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