Sicilian Sweet and Sour Aubergine Caponata with Quail's Eggs

For a sensational side dish or a moreish meat-free meal, Gennaro Contaldo cooks up classic Italian caponata
By Gennaro Contaldo
Sicilian Sweet and Sour Aubergine Caponata with Quail's Eggs
  • Rating:
  • Serves: 4
  • Cook Time: 25 minutes
  • Prep Time: 40 minutes
  • Effort: easy



  • 250 ml olive oil
  • 4 stalks celery, cut into small chunks
  • 4 medium onions, roughly chopped
  • 4 tbsp capers, rinsed and drained
  • 25 pitted olives, green or black, quartered
  • 2 tbsp tomato purée, diluted in 70ml water
  • 4 tbsp sugar
  • 70 ml white wine vinegar
  • 1 pinches black pepper, to taste
  • 500 ml vegetable oil, for deep frying
  • 2 large aubergines, cut into small cubes
  • 1 bunches celery leaves, finely chopped
  • 4 tbsp pine kernels
  • 4 quail's eggs, or 2 normal eggs, hard-boiled


1. In a large frying pan, heat the olive oil and add the celery, onions, capers and olives, and cook until softened.

2. Mix in the diluted tomato purée and cook for a couple of minutes more, until the mixture begins to thicken. Stir in the sugar and vinegar, and then cook until the sugar dissolves. Remove the pan from the heat, season and set aside.

3. Heat the vegetable oil in a deep fat fryer or large saucepan - test the temperature by dropping in a piece of aubergine, if it sizzles the oil is hot enough. Fry the aubergine in batches until golden.

4. Remove from the pan and drain on kitchen towel. Stir the aubergine into the tomato mixture and add the celery leaves and pine kernels.

5. Spoon the caponata into a serving dish, garnish with the quail's eggs and serve immediately.

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