Frank Occhino’s Caponata
Frank Occhino’s Caponata
Posted on
June 19, 2024

Meet your new favorite appetizer: Frank Occhino’s caponata. This recipe brings together fried eggplant, sautéed vegetables, and a touch of vinegar-sugar magic. Piled on crispy crostini and garnished with fresh basil, it's a perfect bite every time. 


  • 1 whole eggplant, diced
  • 3 celery sticks, sliced
  • 1 whole carrot, sliced into rounds
  • 1 bell pepper, diced
  • 1/2 onion, sliced
  • 2 cups San Marzano tomato sauce
  • 2 tablespoons capers
  • 1/2 cup green olives, pitted and sliced
  • 1/4 cup white wine vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • Olive oil (for frying and sauteing drizzling)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Fresh basil leaves (for garnish)
  • Bread for crostini


  1. Fry the Eggplant:
    • -Heat a generous amount of olive oil in a large frying pan over medium heat.
    • -Add the diced eggplant and fry until golden brown and tender.
    • -Remove the fried eggplant and place on a plate lined with paper towels to remove excess oil. Set aside.

  2. Prepare the Vegetables:
    • -Use another pan and add 2 table soons of olive oil
    • -Add the diced bell pepper and cook for 2-3 minutes
    • -Add the sliced carrot, celery, and onion. Sauté until the vegetables are halfway cooked, about 5-7 minutes.

  3. Combine with Capers and Olives:
    • -Stir in the capers and green olives.
    • -Add the San Marzano tomato sauce and stir to combine. Let the mixture simmer for a few minutes.

  4. Balance the Acidity:
    • -In a small bowl, mix the white wine vinegar and sugar until the sugar dissolves.
    • -Pour the vinegar-sugar mixture into the pan with the sautéed vegetables. Stir well.
    • -Cover the pan with a lid and let the mixture cook until the vegetables are somewhat soft.

  5. Add the Eggplant:
    • -Remove the lid and add the fried eggplant to the pan.
    • -Stir to combine all the ingredients and let cook for another minute.
    • -Season with salt and pepper to taste.

  6. Prepare the Crostini:
    • -Preheat your oven or toaster oven to 375°F (190°C).
    • -Slice the bread loaf into crostini-sized pieces.
    • -Arrange the bread slices on a baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil, and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
    • -Bake in the oven for about 5-7 minutes, or until golden and crispy.

  7. Assemble and Serve:
    • -Spoon the caponata onto the crostini pieces.
    • -Garnish each with a fresh basil leaf.
    • -Serve at room temperature with your favorite Gratsi wine. Enjoy!

This recipe combines the rich flavors of the fried eggplant and sautéed vegetables with the tangy sweetness of the vinegar-sugar mixture, all served on crispy crostini for a delicious appetizer (antipasto) or snack.

PS: While you are here, why not give a try to our delicious vino! Click here to learn more. 
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