Even if I’m Italian, I think I’ve never eaten caponata, or maybe I tried it during a vacation in Sicily 11 years ago – sob. I don’t know if you are aware of it: Italy has a great traditional cuisine, but it changes so much region by region. For instance :
- stuffed pasta – as ravioli, tortelloni, tortellini – is made with eggs + common wheat flour dough, the same dough used for tagliatelle and lasagne, and it’s typical of Emilia-Romagna, a region in northern Italy ;
- in the south of the country, pasta is made with durum wheat and no eggs – some shapes are cavatelli, scialatielli, orecchiette… ;
- polenta is eaten only in the north ;
- some recipes are strongly regional, as ribollita in Tuscany, canederli in Trentino-Alto-Adige, taralli in Apulia, corzetti in Liguria and so on.
Therefore there’s nothing weird in a Sicilian guy who’s never tried an apple strudel or a Piedmontese who’s never eaten pasta con le sarde [pasta with sardines]. I’m trying to find a justification for me not eating caponata! When I browsed for the 10th time Green Kitchen Travels, I saw this wonderful photo of this delicious and summery dish which made me salivate. It reminded me something I ate in Provence, a sort of ratatouille with green olives and capers: it was sooo delicious. I had to try this recipe. So here it is!
You can find the original recipe on they’re amazing book Green Kitchen Travels – page 86 – or here.
If you don’t own their book yet, I totally suggest to purchase it immediately! Their photos are amazing – as usual – and the recipes are all pretty easy, without weird ingredients; I also love the intro “Travelling with kids”, even if I haven’t any yet.
I suggest cutting the veggies in a rough way to obtain irregular big chunks. Instead of an Italian basil, I used a bunch of lemon basil I found at my local farmers’ market.
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1-2 eggplants (880 g), cubed
1-2 red bell peppers (170 g), seeded and cubed
2 tsp dried oregano
1 fat pinch of himalayan salt
1 pinch of black pepper
2 garlic cloves, grated
1 shallot, finely chopped
1 small bunch of Italian parsley, finely chopped
1 small bunch of basil, finely chopped – see notes
2-4 ripe tomatoes (600 g), cubed
1 handful pitted green olives (70 g), chopped
4 tbsp capers (30 g)
1 tbsp aged balsamic vinegar
Heat the oil in a large fry pan – I used a cast iron deep skillet. Add eggplant, bell pepper, oregano, salt and black pepper and cook over a medium heat for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. When eggplant and pepper are both browned on all sides, add garlic, shallot, parsley, and basil (reserving a little for garnish) and cook for another 3 minutes. Add tomatoes, olives, capers and balsamic vinegar and cook until the eggplants look soft and the peppers are tender.
Serve with some slices of whole grain sourdough or gluten-free bread; if you end up with a little serving, use it as pasta salsa!
poi ci sono io, che sono siciliana ma mangio qualcosa di tipicamente italiano 2 volte al mese e non ho mai amato troppo la cucina siciliana… pensa che da piccola non riuscivo neanche a sentire l’odore dei tipici dolci con la ricotta (cannoli, cassate etc..). La caponata mi piace (ecco, diciamo che quello che è verdura lo mangio facilmente…), anche se, prima di poterla mangiare, ne sono passati di anni, anche se spesso la trovo un po’ troppo carica di olio. Adoro questa, poco unta e carica di verdure!
Idem qui, da quando cucino per me, cose italiane non passano! Peccato che invece il moroso adori la cucina italiana 😀
Thank you so much Valentina for your kind words! We are honoured that we inspired you try cooking an Italian dish. Your photos are gorgeous! Tanti baci da noi!
Oh thanks so much David, your appreciation means A LOT. Seriously.
WOW! I love the silverware – where did you get them?
I found them at a flea market!