Caponata – if at first you don’t like it, try it again

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Sicilians build things like they will live forever and eat like they will die tomorrow.” – Plato.

Hi there,

This post is another tale of disliking a food and then ending up falling in love with the taste. You may remember me talking about my friend, Al, and the pesto disaster. Alfred was constantly introducing me to new foods with varying degrees of success. One of the first foods he introduced was Caponata. As much as I loved Al, I couldn’t get my arms around all that eggplant. I mean, you have to admit, eggplant isn’t the first thing that pops into your mind when you are hungry.

So fast forward to my wonderful trip to Sicily and the macho men taking the cooking class in Corleone. One of the dishes we made was Caponata. My mind was entirely made up that I wouldn’t like all that eggplant no matter who told me it was tasty.

Well, here we go again – this stuff is really, really, good and now I am not only a believer but faithfully make Caponata whenever I spy out some beautiful eggplant. I was at a farmer’s market and came across various varieties of eggplant and brought them home. In a short time they became this delicious caponata.

CAPONATA ALA LEON D’ORO, CORLEONE

Ingredients:

  • 2 medium sized eggplant – Italian or white
  • 2 celery sticks
  • 3 carrots
  • 1onion
  • 1 can of diced tomatoes drained
  • 12 pitted green olives – cerginola if you can find them pitted. Don’t use olives in brine
  • 2 tablespoons of capers
  • 3/4 cup of raisins reconstituted in white wine
  • 3/4 cup roasted pignoli nuts
  • 1 small bunch of basil roughly chopped
  • 2 tablespoons of honey
  • EVOO
  • basalmic wine vinegar
  • salt and pepper

Directions:

  1. Dice the eggplant and fry in a small amount of EVOO
  2. Dice the celery, carrots and onion
  3. Remove the eggplant and add enough oil to sauté the celery, carrots and onions
  4. One the vegetables are golden, add the drained can of diced tomatoes and basil leaves
  5. Cook for approximately 10 minutes
  6. Add to the pan the eggplant, capers, olives, raisins, pignoli, honey and vinegar
  7. Cook until all liquid has thickened and the vinegar has carmalized
  8. Taste and add salt and pepper

Special note: not only does Caponata make an excellent appetizer but mixed with tuna fish it makes a delicious and quick lunch. It also is wonderful as a filling for a dinner omelet.

I hope you don’t wait as many years as I have to become a fan of this unique and delicious dish.

Talk soon, ❤️💕 Bernadette

39 responses to “Caponata – if at first you don’t like it, try it again”

  1. 💜 Kids ARE Wonderful to Watch when CHOOSING!!! what to eat EveryOne; as a KiDult I Live in The Moment…so SomeTimes Savoury, SomeTimes Sweet and SomeTimes Both, YUMMY!!!

    …💛💚💙…

      • 💜 YOU!!! ARE Most Welcome SupaSoulSis; plus THANK YOU!!! for Sharing and Serving with YOUR!!! Kind Words, Stay Strong and Serene

        …💛💚💙…

  2. Angela – New England-born, Pennsylvania raised, and 100% Italian-American, I've been writing since Sister Mary Dolores taught me how. My husband's a concrete sequential Leo and I’m a daydreaming Pisces, which makes life just a bit more interesting, as do our kids, grands, and the inimitable Miss Puppy Clouseau.
    Angela says:

    I remember not wanting to try eggplant till, when I was about 14, my Uncle Sam gestured to the Eggplant Parmigiana Mom had made and said, “Try it. It tastes like chicken.” Well, of course, it didn’t taste like chicken, but it was love at first bite. However, I don’t usually make caponata. Oh my gosh–the RAISINS… that seems like one of those Arabic touches so common in Southern Italian-Sicilian cooking. I have to try this.

    • Yes, it seems that raisens and pine nuts pop up in a lot of Sicilian cooking representing the melting pot of people indigenous to the island. Isn’t it funny how we were all told everything tasted like chicken. Have a w onderful weekend Angela.

  3. Darlene – British Columbia, Canada – Writer of children's stories, short stories and travel articles. https://twitter.com/#!/supermegawoman http://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=201634059868404&id=631897250&ref=notif&notif_t=like#!/pages/Darlene-Foster-Writer/362236842733
    Darlene says:

    I love eggplant or aubergines as the British and French call them. I have many great recipes and usually include at least one at my Christmas dinner. Even folks who say they don’t like eggplants, like my dishes. This recipe looks wonderful.

  4. Angie@Angie's Recipes – Angie's Recipes is an interactive blog dedicated to sharing yummy & creative recipes, helpful cooking hints and tips. Enjoy your visit and spread the word!
    Angie Schneider says:

    As a kid, we ate lots of those white and purple eggplants, mostly stirfried with garlic or in savoury rice dishes. Your caponata looks great!
    angiesrecipes
    http://angiesrecipes.blogspot.com

  5. Chef Mimi – As a self-taught home cook, with many years in the culinary profession, I am passionate about all things food-related. Especially eating!
    chef mimi says:

    Oh boy that looks good. I’ve still not been to Sicily, and my real father is from there! It’s on my list.

  6. With this virus mess we are living with, I know that traveling is a mess but go as soon as you can. It is a very special place. Have a wonderful weekend Mimi.

  7. Dorothy's New Vintage Kitchen – I'm a writer, cook, gardener, photographer, poet, quilter, and accomplished daydreamer. I'm also a wife, mother, grandmother, sister. cousin, aunt, and friend, no particular order on any given day. I've been a writer all my life, newspaper reporter and columnist, radio news writer, and magazine contributor, and poet and short-story writer as the spirit moves. Now, I turn my attention to my cookbook, the blog, and a cooking column "Memorable Meals," which runs in our county newspaper. Besides my family, I love dogs, cats, good coffee, and my never-dwindling pile of books I intend to read. Our family ran a small Vermont Inn for 18 years, with our focus on local, organic ingredients. After many years of daily serving up of our local delicacies, cooking classes, and catering, we are now only open for special events, and the odd cooking class as the spirit moves me. We also host musicians and artists, having helped produce a musical festival and other musical events for nearly 20 years. Many incredible artists have found a place at our table. Wonderful experiences, we will treasure always. My family and friends are my practice subjects. With a family that includes nut, peanut, tree fruit, and vegetable allergies, gluten intolerance, dairy intolerance, vegetarians, vegans, heart conscious, and a couple of picky eaters, there has to be a few quick tricks in the book to keep everyone fed and happy! Personally, I do not eat red meat or most dairy (usually) for health reasons, making the occasional exception at Thanksgiving and Christmas or our anniversary if the duck is locally raised. I do eat fish and seafood, so I try to come up with alternatives and substitutions when available. I serve local organic eggs and cheeses to my family who can tolerate dairy (My husband recently had a heart attack, and I need to watch my own cholesterol so I am careful, but have been known to let a little piece of really good cheese accidentally fall on my plate!). I believe strongly that eating in a way that is good for our planet is also good for our bodies! I cook by the seasons and draw on inspiration from the strong and talented women in my family who came before me, as well as the youth in the family who look at the world with fresh eyes. Food links us all, whether sharing a meal, cooking it together, or writing about it for others to enjoy. I love taking an old recipe and giving it a modern spin, especially if I can make it a littler healthier and use foods that are kinder to the Earth and to our bodies. I believe strongly in sustainable, delicious eating of whole foods, and the wonderful flavors we have at our fingertips! And finally, I love conversing with all the talented cooks and chefs out there who dot the globe! It's a wonderful, world full of culinary pen pals, and I cherish them all! XXXOOO Dorothy
    Dorothy’s New Vintage Kitchen says:

    Oh my! I used to love caponata, but developed an allergy to eggplant in my 40s. This is tempting, perhaps I’ll try making it with zucchini, sometimes the substitution works nicely in recipes.

    • Dorothy, how strange to develop any allergy to it. Are you allergic to other night shade vegetables? I know that some literature says that they are bad for arthritis.

      • Dorothy's New Vintage Kitchen – I'm a writer, cook, gardener, photographer, poet, quilter, and accomplished daydreamer. I'm also a wife, mother, grandmother, sister. cousin, aunt, and friend, no particular order on any given day. I've been a writer all my life, newspaper reporter and columnist, radio news writer, and magazine contributor, and poet and short-story writer as the spirit moves. Now, I turn my attention to my cookbook, the blog, and a cooking column "Memorable Meals," which runs in our county newspaper. Besides my family, I love dogs, cats, good coffee, and my never-dwindling pile of books I intend to read. Our family ran a small Vermont Inn for 18 years, with our focus on local, organic ingredients. After many years of daily serving up of our local delicacies, cooking classes, and catering, we are now only open for special events, and the odd cooking class as the spirit moves me. We also host musicians and artists, having helped produce a musical festival and other musical events for nearly 20 years. Many incredible artists have found a place at our table. Wonderful experiences, we will treasure always. My family and friends are my practice subjects. With a family that includes nut, peanut, tree fruit, and vegetable allergies, gluten intolerance, dairy intolerance, vegetarians, vegans, heart conscious, and a couple of picky eaters, there has to be a few quick tricks in the book to keep everyone fed and happy! Personally, I do not eat red meat or most dairy (usually) for health reasons, making the occasional exception at Thanksgiving and Christmas or our anniversary if the duck is locally raised. I do eat fish and seafood, so I try to come up with alternatives and substitutions when available. I serve local organic eggs and cheeses to my family who can tolerate dairy (My husband recently had a heart attack, and I need to watch my own cholesterol so I am careful, but have been known to let a little piece of really good cheese accidentally fall on my plate!). I believe strongly that eating in a way that is good for our planet is also good for our bodies! I cook by the seasons and draw on inspiration from the strong and talented women in my family who came before me, as well as the youth in the family who look at the world with fresh eyes. Food links us all, whether sharing a meal, cooking it together, or writing about it for others to enjoy. I love taking an old recipe and giving it a modern spin, especially if I can make it a littler healthier and use foods that are kinder to the Earth and to our bodies. I believe strongly in sustainable, delicious eating of whole foods, and the wonderful flavors we have at our fingertips! And finally, I love conversing with all the talented cooks and chefs out there who dot the globe! It's a wonderful, world full of culinary pen pals, and I cherish them all! XXXOOO Dorothy
        Dorothy’s New Vintage Kitchen says:

        I’m not allergic to any of the other nightshades, and the allergy came on all of a sudden. One day I could eat eggplant parmigiana, the next day I couldn’t, and I had made it for a dinner party. Itchy mouth and throat. Big drat!

  8. D. Wallace Peach – 30 Miles beyond the edge of civilization, Oregon – I'm an adventurer in writing, peering under rocks in my garden for secret magic. I can't stop writing. My stories want to explode from my head. They demand my attention and surge from my fingertips faster than I can put them to paper. I love what I do.
    D. Wallace Peach says:

    I love eggplant (now that I’m a grown-up – as a kid I wouldn’t touch it). This sounds wonderful, Bernadette, and perfect for the season. I printed off the recipe and will give it a try. I had to look up EVOO. Lol. Got it! Thanks for the recipe!

      • D. Wallace Peach – 30 Miles beyond the edge of civilization, Oregon – I'm an adventurer in writing, peering under rocks in my garden for secret magic. I can't stop writing. My stories want to explode from my head. They demand my attention and surge from my fingertips faster than I can put them to paper. I love what I do.
        D. Wallace Peach says:

        Ha. I was so relieved to find it was something I have! Lol.

  9. Time Traveler of Life – Where my Motor Home is! – Biography Creating worlds, characters, and wielding power like a madwoman, making my characters happy, sad, angry, and some of them with no redeeming qualities. I probably shouldn’t admit this, but I sometimes laugh out loud when I am writing a scene, and I have been known to cry when one of my favorites has to die. I am a left-handed Gemini, what do you expect? Reading bedtime stories to my two children until they fell asleep or until they just told me to go away, was fun. Making up wild stories for my grandchild, and creating Halloween costumes from Cowboys to a Dragon, was another favorite thing to do. I missed that so much when they were grown, that I started writing. My yearly newsletters frequently were drafted third-person by my Love Birds, Miranda our motorhome, and by Sir Fit the White Knight, our faithful Honda. Throughout the years, some of my creative talents centered around writing letters of complaint expressing my displeasure with services or products. One crucial, at least to my Son, was a note to our local school bus driver petitioning her to allow him back on the bus. He was kicked off for making an obscene gesture at his buddy. I reminded her that it was not directed at her, and that “obscenity can be in the eye of the beholder,” kids use that gesture as a greeting. He rode the bus until he graduated. I loved driving my English teacher crazy. Leaving a “continued next week” at the end of my five handwritten pages required each week. He was one of many people that suggested I “do something about my writing.” I graduated from the School of Hard Knocks at the top of my class. After 30 years, in the trenches as a Real Estate Professional, I have found that truth is stranger than fiction. My books are filled with characters I met in that profession. Their names were changed to protect the guilty. Others were from people we met traveling around the country in Miranda, our Motorhome. I am married nearly 60 years to the love of my life, Shirl, and partner-produced two exceptionally talented children, and one grandchild who is our pride and joy.
    Time Traveler of Life says:

    My husband loves eggplant, I am not in love with it. With all the other ingredients, maybe I could get close to it. I am an old farmer from Maine, and it is hard to take the potatoes away in favor of anything else. Age and weight are taking care of that, now.

  10. I’ve never had it but with so many tasty ingredients I’m sure it’s delicious. One of my favorite trips was to Italy -.we started in Venice and spent two lovely weeks driving through that beautiful country, ending up on the Amalfi Coast. Cooking classes are always fun!

  11. i love eggplant! i do agree with you about eating foods till you like them. for me it was things like capsicum and chokoes and basil and fresh coriander … i didn’t like them but i just kept eating them till i did 🙂

  12. Oh, yum! This is a great story that everyone can relate to, and a testament to the fact that our taste buds can and do evolve! Great picture of you in Italy, by the way. I have never tried making caponata and I’m not sure why because I have thoroughly enjoyed it in restaurants and at wine dinners. I’m going to give your recipe a go as soon as I spot some pretty eggplant! Does it matter what variety of white wine?

    • Nope, I used whatever was open but usually sauvignon blanc is open. Another blogger who blogs about wine said he was going to make it. I asked him to let me know what he plans on serving it with.

  13. Many thanks Bernadette for posting the recipe. It’s been some time since we last enjoyed Caponata, so one for the coming week!

  14. I’ve never had caponata before – but I love eggplant, and anything that contains vinegar, balsamic or otherwise. So I am definitely going to try this. We can get all sorts of different types of aubergines here so it will be interesting to see how they each taste in this recipe.

    Love the story of your journey with eggplants. Sometimes a food is a cultivated taste.

    • I am curious to know how all those aubergines will differ in taste. Yes, it has been quite a cooking journey for me from meat and potatoes girl to eggplant. Thank you for taking the time to visit. I just came from your beautiful blog.

      • We use different types of eggplant to cook different things as they vary in texture as well as taste.

        Thank you for visiting my space!

  15. Sophia Dane – I like to cook and collect interesting recipes. I love traveling, meeting new places and people. I like a good book…
    Sophia Dane says:

    Very interesting recipe👏. And I adore eggplant❤️, and more purple. I don’t have to peel it and it has a more aromatic and stronger taste than white …

      • Sophia Dane – I like to cook and collect interesting recipes. I love traveling, meeting new places and people. I like a good book…
        Sophia Dane says:

        For good things, there is always time. Thanks for the wonderful recipe. 🤗

  16. the Painted Apron – Life is all about creativity for me, as long as I'm creating something I am happy! I hope I will inspire your daily life and give you ideas for your own wonderful creations!
    the Painted Apron says:

    I do love eggplant and to me when it’s fried it’s better than French fries! I’ve never had caponata… how fun to take a cooking class in Italy!
    Jenna

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