This flaky, delicious cod fish, plated on top of a hearty eggplant caponata, is full of nutritious vegetables and savory flavors. There is no better way to get your veggies than in this rich Sicilian dish!
Want to dive into more Sicilian cuisine? Try this delicious Sicilian roasted artichoke salad!
What is caponata?
Caponata is a traditional Sicilian dish with fresh vegetables and a sweet and sour sauce. One of my favorite things about the food from this region is that they’re full of fresh ingredients and are so naturally healthy!
Caponata is somewhat similar to the French ratatouille. They both feature eggplant, tomatoes, and onions cooked in olive oil. Unlike ratatouille, though, caponata also includes olives, capers, and vinegar that gives the dish a delicious tang. It usually has a sweet component, like raisins or brown sugar, that adds another layer of flavor.
Onion – A red or white onion pairs best with the other flavors in the skillet.
Celery stalks – celery is consistently listed on the on the Dirty Dozen list put out by the Environmental Working Group, so you might want to opt for the organic celery.
Garlic cloves – use fresh garlic cloves for this recipe for the best flavor.
Eggplant – any type of eggplant will do for this recipe.
Tomatoes – use any variety of tomato, but you’ll probably need to drain off some of the juice before you add the remaining ingredients. Roma tomatoes are a great option since they’re so meaty.
Tomato passata – tomato puree could also be substituted.
Red wine vinegar – this helps add a savory depth of flavor to the vegetables.
Capers – these go great with the tomatoes and onion.
Olives – start with canned chopped olives or chop them yourself. Use black olives or ripe green olives, your choice!
Cod – 4-6 cod fillets
Almonds – use as many as you like!
Prepping this eggplant caponata
Get your knives sharpened and your cutting board ready! You are going to need to cut up your onions, celery, eggplant, tomatoes, and garlic before you put them in your skillet.
Pro tip: Prep your veggies for recipes like this on a Sunday. That way when you’re in the middle of your work week you’ll cut down on midweek cooking time!
Who loves a recipe where you get to throw everything in one pan? (Fewer dishes to do? Yes please!)
How to make eggplant caponata
Once you’ve diced your veggies, you’ll cook the onion and celery, then add the eggplant and garlic. Some people prefer to cook the veggies separately before combining them, but I love the way the different flavors come together when you cook them together!
Add the tomatoes, tomato paste, passata, vinegar, and garnishes to your skillet, and let it simmer for about 15 minutes with the lid on. While you’re waiting for your caponata to finish, this is the perfect time to throw your cod fillets in the oven. Make sure you keep an eye on them because they cook quickly!
Next, remove the lid on the skillet and stir two tablespoons each of the fresh parsley and the toasted almonds into the caponata. Season the skillet to your own preference.
Finally, combine the skillet with the cod fillets and garnish with remaining parsley and almonds. Enjoy!
Is caponata served hot or cold?
Caponata can be served hot or at room temperature. It can also be frozen to save for a meal later in the week.
How long can caponata stay in the fridge?
Caponata stays fresh for about five days covered in the fridge. It can stay frozen for weeks.
What is the difference between caponata and ratatouille?
While both dishes contain similar vegetables, caponata usually contains ingredients that sweeten the taste more than ratatouille.
Making eggplant caponata keto-friendly
If you’re trying to make this recipe keto-friendly for others (or yourself), all you have to do is skip the raisins! Not only that, but this eggplant caponata is also completely gluten-free!
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, divided
- 1 medium white onion, diced
- 2 large celery stalks, diced
- 2-3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 medium eggplant, peeled and cubed
- 2 medium tomatoes, diced
- 2 tablespoon tomato paste
- 1 cup tomato passata (or tomato puree)
- 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 2 tablespoons capers
- ¼ cup green olives, pitted and sliced
- ¼ cup raisins
- 4 6-oz. cod fillets
- 3 tablespoons fresh parsley leaves, chopped, divided
- 3 tablespoons sliced almonds, toasted, divided
- Sea salt and black pepper, to taste
1. Preheat oven to 400°F and line a large, rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. Set aside.
2. Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and celery, and season with salt and black pepper, to taste. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is soft and translucent, approximately 4-5 minutes.
3. Add another tablespoon of olive oil to the skillet, along with the garlic and eggplant. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the eggplant begins to cook down, around 6-7 minutes.
4. Add the tomatoes, tomato paste, passata, vinegar, capers, green olives, and raisins. Stir to combine and cover skillet with a lid. Reduce heat to low and simmer gently for 15 minutes.
5. Meanwhile, lightly brush each cod fillet with the remaining olive oil and season with salt and black pepper on both sides. Place the fillets on the prepared baking sheet and place in the pre-heated oven to roast until the fish turns opaque and flakes easily with a fork, approximately 12-13 minutes. (Test after 10 minutes. Do not overcook.)
6. Remove lid and stir two tablespoons each of the fresh parsley and the toasted almonds into the caponata. Taste and adjust seasonings, as desired.
7. Transfer to individual serving plates and garnish with remaining parsley and almonds. Serve immediately with the cod fillets. Enjoy!
Substitute strained tomatoes if passata is not available.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 473Total Fat: 20gSaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 16gCholesterol: 94mgSodium: 561mgCarbohydrates: 32gFiber: 8gSugar: 16gProtein: 44g
Be sure to try these fish recipes, too!
Originally published in August 2020, this post has been updated.