Being of Irish/Dutch heritage, “caponata” wasn’t exactly part of my vocabulary growing up. I was introduced to it about 6 years ago and since then it has been a work in progress to duplicate that recipe. It took a few tries, but I think I’ve pretty much nailed it. I’ve had my fair share of different caponatas since then, but none have really stood up to that first one.
Those of you that are familiar with it can sing it’s praises, but to those of you who aren’t… let me tell you what you’re missing.
Caponata is the epitome of Sicilian flavors. It is sweet, sour and a little salty. It has a depth of flavor that comes out even more after a day or two, and like most things: every Sicilian household has their own variation. It is basically a condiment. It is meant to be eaten along side a main course.
The main ingredient is eggplant, which is the signature vegetable of Sicily. It is earthy from the eggplant, salty from capers & olives, bitter from vinegar and gets texture from the pine nuts.
That pretty much sums it up, but believe me when I tell you there is nothing I can say that will do it justice.
You know that saying: She might not be the prettiest girl at the party, but she has a great personality. Well, THAT is caponata. It isn’t the most appealing thing in a bowl, but for me it was love at first bite… cartoon style: stars in my eyes, birds singing over my head, heart beating visibly out of my chest.