After sharing with you the recipe for cabbuci, today I am back with the second part of my Italian Regional dish series. We are back in Sicily and I am going to show you how to make one of the most popular dishes of the island: caponata. It could be described as a cooked salad made up of fried eggplant and other ingredients. It is a sweet and sour dish and it is the perfect side for fish dishes or a great appetiser if served with warm cabbuci. It is usually eaten in summer and it is best served at room temperature or even cold. I have read on the web that the origin of the name caponata is not completely known. Some think it derives from the term “caupone” (tavern), others reckon that it comes from the local name of the fish capone (also known as mahi mahi or dorado). I am more inclined towards this option as capone is often served with the same sauce of caponata (sans eggplant). Anyhow… we all love it! This is my mum’s recipe and she makes the best caponata I have ever eaten. It is one of her signature dishes! I hope you enjoy it as much as we do!
5 (or 4 big) eggplants
15 green olives, pitted and halved
2 tbsp capers, rinsed
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
140 gms – 5 oz. concentrated tomato paste
2 big onions, chopped
3 celery stalks, chopped
150 ml – 5 oz. red wine vinegar
1 tbsp sugar
Cut the aubergines in cubes (3×3 cm – 1.2×1.2 inches) and put them in a bowl with cold salty water for half an hour (1). Then, pat them dry (2) and deep fry them in hot vegetable oil (3). When ready, put them in a plate lined with kitchen paper to drain the excess oil.
Blanch the chopped celery in salty boiling water.
Chop the onion, put it in a frying pan and cover it with 1/2 glass of water (1) and cook it until the water dries up (2). Then add 3 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil (3) and sauté the onions in it for a minute or 2 (4). Add the tomato concentrate (5), capers, olives and blanched celery with a little of its reserved cooking water and cook the sauce for 5 minutes (6).
Add the fried eggplant cubes and mix gently (1-2-3). Dissolve the sugar in the vinegar and add it to the caponata (4). Cook it for a few minutes on a medium-high flame, then put the fire off and let it cool down.
It is best eaten at room temperature or cold, and it tastes even better after a day or two. Enjoy with some warm cabbuci!
It is the end of the month again! Which means it is time to check out the great round up that Nancy from Spicie Foodie has put together of some of the best recipes from the blogosphere! Check out Your Best Recipe of March! I am contributing my Zucchini Flower and Saffron Risotto in a Parmigiano Reggiano basket to it! Have fun!