Caponata is a triumph of taste with veggies as a key ingredient. The Sicilian dish with a unique sweet-sour flavor is perfect to fill a panini.
Photos Giuseppe Giustolisi
Caponata, a staple of Sicilian food and the Mediterranean Diet, is a triumph of scents, a simple (but not banal) ritual in which fresh vegetables are a key ingredient and the art of knowing how to dose the bittersweet (agrodolce) defines the success of the recipe.
There are different versions of this dish, which evolved according to the times and customs of the cities of the Island. The traditional Sicilian dish gets its unique sweet and sour flavor from sugar mixed with vinegar. The classic Caponata is fried. I propose the eco-friendly and healthier baked version. Lighter but just as tasty.
Usually, Caponata, is served as appetizer or side dish. You can also enjoy it with pasta for a rich main course. Great over a slice of rustic warm bread or for stuffing Italian paninis, fits perfectly as a side dish with meat, fish or vegetable dishes such as soy or seitan burgers.
- 4 eggplants
- 4 peppers
- 2 onions
- 2 to matoes
- 1 stalk of celery
- 50 g ½ cup Sicilian capers
- extra virgin olive oil to taste
- salt to taste
- 1 glass of apple cider vinegar
- 4 tablespoons light brown sugar
- sprig of basil
- Wash and slice the eggplants, peppers, onions and tomatoes. Cut the celery into thin pieces.
- Arrange the vegetables in a baking dish and topped with capers, a sprig of basil, olive oil and salt to taste.
- Bake in oven at 180°C (350°F/ gas 4) for 30 minutes. Take out the pan from the oven, add a cup of apple cider vinegar and four tablespoons of brown sugar. Stir and cook for another 30 minutes. Once cooked, take out of the oven and let cool.
Veronica is a born and raised Italian. She inherited her love for travel, passion for cooking and natural, sustainable, healthy slow food from her parents. Her works have appeared in 'Vegetarian Living', 'Veggie Magazine', 'Lifestyle food', 'Australian Good Food & Travel Guide', 'Chickpea' and 'Free from Heaven', among others. She is the author of "Panini: the simple tastes of Italian style bread"; 'The Rustic Italian bakery", "The Vegetarian Italian Kitchen" and "A Modern Italian table", published by New Holland Publishers Australia.