Recipe & Photo from Mariana Gates

Caponata by Mariana Gates

¼ cup olive oil
1 stalk celery
1 medium onion
4 cloves garlic
1 large red capsicum
1 medium eggplant
2 roma tomatoes, skinned
1 medium zucchini OR 3 yellow squash
3 tbsp brown sugar
½ cup sultanas
½ cup balsamic vinegar
½ cup fresh basil leaves
Salt & pepper


  • Using knife, nick top & tail of tomatoes. Put in boiling hot water for a minute. Plunge into cold water for another minute. Peel off skin.
  • Cut up all the vegetables except for the eggplant into small even dice. Cut up the eggplant right before adding to the heated pan. This stops it turning brown.
  • Heat oil in a large pan; add onion, garlic, celery & small sprinkle salt. Do NOT brown. Cook over low-medium heat till onion is translucent; about 10 mins. Use lid for the first few mins to help soften veggies.
  • Add capsicum, tomatoes, eggplant & small sprinkle salt. Mix thoroughly. Continue cooking further 8-10mins till veggies are just done & softened slightly.
  • Add zucchini or squash; stir; cook further 5mins.
  • Add sultanas, sugar, balsamic vinegar, 1tbsp water; stir well. Cook for 2mins till slightly thickened. Remove from heat. Add chopped basil leaves; season with salt & pepper to taste.
  • Allow to cool; refrigerate; serve cold.


  • It’s a fine line between well-cooked veggies that still hold their shape and a mushy mix. Be vigilant during the cooking to ensure the veggies don’t collapse.
  • A successful Caponata is totally reliant upon the vegetables. Look for shiny young eggplant, firm zucchini, capsicum & celery, ripe tomato and wherever possible try to buy Australian garlic. It makes all the difference.

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