Wednesday, June 3, 2009

SICILIAN CAPONATA

Traditional Sicilian Caponata is a sweet and sour eggplant stew with onions, celery, garlic, capers, raisins and green olives. Its one of those "better the next day" dishes because it takes time for all of the flavors to meld together and when they do its a really flavorful way to eat eggplant. My family seems to think that making a caponata is a lot of work, but I disagree. It is a very simple and easy to make dish. The only "work" comes with the vegetable chopping, which I don't really mind. Caponata is a great appetizer or snack with crusty Italian bread. I served it as a main course with parmigiano roasted garlic baked polenta. This was the first time I ever made polenta, and I was really happy with how easy it was and how delicious it turned out. 

TRADITIONAL SICILIAN CAPONATA
2 medium sized eggplant, cubed
1 onion chopped
2 celery stalk chopped
14 oz can of chopped tomatoes
2 TBSP capers, soaked in water to remove excess salt
1/2 C. pitted green olives, roughly chopped
2 TBSP. raisins
1/4 - 1/2 C. vinegar
1 -2 TBSP sugar
salt and pepper

In a large heavy pot, sautee the onions and celery until softened. Add the eggplant cubes. Season with salt and pepper. After the eggplants cook for about 8-10 mins., add the chopped tomatoes, capers, olives and raisins. Bring everything to a slight boil then simmer on low for about half an hour to 45 minutes, until everything is cooked and stewed together. Turn off the heat and add the vinegar and sugar to desired sweet and sourness. (remember you can't take it out after you add it so be cautious and taste as you go). Season with salt and pepper. Let sit over night and serve with bread or polenta.

PARMIGIANO AND ROASTED GARLIC POLENTA
6 C. water
2 C. polenta (corn meal)
2 - 3 TBSP butter or olive oil
1/2 C. parmigiano reggiano cheese
a2-3 cloves of garlic roasted in olive oil in a sautee pan until golden
salt and pepper

Boil the water in a medium heavy pot. Slowly add the polenta while stirring constantly. Once it thickens add the butter, roasted garlic, cheese and salt and pepper. Continue stirring. It should take 15 minutes to cook. Once the polenta pulls from the side of the pot, it is done. Pour the polenta into a greased bake sheet with sides and spread over to about 1/4-1/2 in thickness. Cool, cut into squares and fry in olive oil or bake for 20-30 minutes at 350 degrees until golden brown, then cut into cubes.

3 comments:

marcella aka milo said...

Jen you mastered the art of resolving any north-south ideological conflicts whatsoever! Caponata AND polenta - two of the most distinctive foods from the two opposite areas of my country, brought together with gusto in the same meal. Well done ;)

Morta Di Fame said...

Marcella! Thank you so much! I didn't even realize that I was pacifying a cultural civil war through food. LOL!

Ciao Chow Linda said...

Thanks for stopping by my blog and giving me the chance to find your caponata. We made nearly the same recipe! But there are gazillion versions out there to be sure.