Posted by: lornasass | November 19, 2009


Photo copyright Lorna Sass, 2009

In this intriguing dish, a sweet-sour balance is achieved by using both vinegar and raisins.

The caponata tastes best after it sits at room temperature for a few hours, or you can refrigerate it overnight and bring it to room temperature about an hour before serving.



1 small eggplant (about 1 pound), peeled and cut into 1/2 –inch cubes

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

1 to 2 tablespoons olive oil (or the marinating oil from sun-dried tomatoes)

2 cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped

1 medium onion, peeled and coarsely chopped

3 ribs celery, cut into 1/4-inch slices

1 large red bell pepper, seeded and diced

1/2 cup pitted, oil-cured olives

1/3 cup raisins

1 tablespoon capers

4 large plum tomatoes (preferred) or 2 large beefsteak tomatoes, pureed

1/4 cup balsamic vinegar

1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

1/4 cup finely minced fresh parsley or 2 tablespoons toasted pine nuts to garnish

Sprinkle the eggplant cubes with salt and set them in a colander. Place a clean kitchen towel on top of the eggplant and a weight on top of the towel, and let sit a room temperature for 1 hour, setting a plate underneath to catch drips. Squeeze the eggplant gently in the kitchen towel to release additional moisture.

Heat the olive oil in the cooker and sauté the garlic and onion for 1 minute, stirring frequently. Stir in eggplant, celery, red pepper, olives, raisins, and capers.

In a small measuring cup, combine the pureed tomatoes, vinegar, and cinnamon. Pour this mixture over the vegetables, and add salt and pepper to taste.

Lock the lid in place and over high heat bring to high pressure. Lower the heat just enough to maintain high pressure and cook for 2 minutes. Reduce the pressure with the quick-release method. Remove the lid, tilting it away from you to allow any excess steam to escape. If the eggplant is not quite tender, replace the cover and allow it to steam in the residual heat until done.

Adjust the seasonings and transfer to a serving dish or storage container. Before serving, garnish with fresh parsley or toasted pine nuts.



  1. I know it’s unorthodox, but why not break out of the “appetizer” category and consider serving the caponata mixed with room-temperature cooked pasta (penne, farfalle) or over rice? It could be a delicious vegan entree! tomorrow I go looking for purple eggplants that look as good as the ones in your picture. And congratulations on your second blog, Lorna!

    • Love your idea of using it as a pasta sauce!

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