Denise says:

  • This is one of Sicily’s popular dishes or side dishes delicious with fish or on top of bread like brochetta. Every home and restaurant has its own special twist and in Sicily with 9 provinces, there are 9 regional variations. For example Catania includes peppers, Palermo add toasted pine nuts and Agrigento almonds and Messina makes theirs Mexican style with chocolate or cocoa powder!  It is a tasty vibrant mix of vegetables featuring aubergine, celery, tomatoes, capers, olives and onion.
  • The tradition is to make a big batch and it is best made in advance and enjoyed cold - perfect for Yom Tov and Shabbat lunch.
  • Preparation Time: 30 minutes plus 1 hour to salt aubergine
  • Cooking Time: 25 minutes    Serves: 6 side dish


  • 3 large aubergines
  • 1 large onion – peeled and finely chopped
  • 3 stalks celery – sliced finely
  • 10 plum tomatoes- skinned removed and chopped
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 2 cloves garlic- peeled and finely chopped
  • ~
  • 3 tablespoons pitted green olives – chopped
  • 2 tablespoons raisins
  • 1 tablespoon caper berries / capers – rinsed 25g dark chocolate – roughly chopped
  • 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ~
  • 2 tablespoons fresh basil – chopped
  • Vegetable oil – for frying
Garnish: Chopped basil and a dusting of black pepper  


  1. Peel the aubergine in alternating strips and then into cubes into 2 cm/ 1 inch cubes.
  2. Sprinkle with salt for 1 hour leaving it in a colander and then rinse and dry.
  3. Fry the aubergines cubes in the vegetable oil until golden. Remove from the oil and reserve. In the same pan, sauté the onion and celery until just soft – about 4-5 minutes.
  4. Stir in the chopped tomatoes, sugar, garlic, olives, raisins, capers, chocolate, vinegar and salt and aubergine cubes.
  5. Add a tablespoon of water and simmer for 5-8 minutes to reduce the liquid and concentrate the flavours. Add the chopped basil.
  6. To serve the stylish way:  Place in a ring mould and then remove.  Decorate the plate with chopped basil and a dusting of black pepper.