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Caponata (14049113982).jpg
Alternative namesCapunata
Region or stateSicily
Main ingredientsAubergine (U.S. eggplant)
Ingredients generally usedCelery

Caponata (Sicilian: capunata) is a Sicilian dish consisting of chopped fried aubergine (U.S. eggplant) and other vegetables, seasoned with olive oil, tomato sauce, celery, olives, and capers, in an agrodolce sauce.[1]

Numerous local variants exist concerning the ingredients, by adding carrots, bell peppers, potatoes, pine nuts, and raisins.[2]

There is a Palermo version that adds octopus, and an aristocratic Sicilian recipe includes lobster and swordfish garnished with wild asparagus, grated dried tuna roe and shrimp.[3] However, these last examples are exceptions to the general rule of a sweet and sour cooked vegetable stew or salad.

Today, caponata is typically used as a side dish for fish dishes and sometimes as an appetizer, but since the 18th century it has also been used as a main course.

A similar Neapolitan dish is called cianfotta. The dish is also popular in Tunisian cuisine.

The dish may have been introduced to Sicily during the Arab conquests of the 9th century.[4]


The etymology of the name is not reliably known. Some suggest it derives from the Catalan language, others that it comes from the caupone, the sailors' taverns.[5] The dishes described by Wright would suggest that in the past the Sicilian dish was similar to the Genoese capponata.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Gangi, Roberta (2006). "Caponata". Best of Sicily Magazine. Retrieved 2008-05-26.
  2. ^ Shulman, Martha Rose. "Caponata Recipe". NYT Cooking. Retrieved 2020-07-03.
  3. ^ Phillips, Kyle. "Caponata alla Siciliana-The Baroness of Carni's Caponata". Retrieved 2008-08-27.
  4. ^ Pope, Victoria. "Much of the Cuisine We Now Know, and Think of as Ours, Came to Us by War". Smithsonian Magazine. Retrieved 25 August 2020.
  5. ^ Wright, Clifford A. (2008). "A History of the Sicilian Caponata". Archived from the original on 2008-06-04. Retrieved 2008-05-26.

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