Literally one of my favorite dishes of all time … Sicilian caponata. Traditionally served with a solid white fish (Mahi Mahi or swordfish) there’s really not much to this dish, but it does take some prepping and is best when made with someone you love—meaning someone you can tell what to do as they help prep the dish ; ) Seriously though, this is one of the best dishes that two people can make together and it’s guaranteed to be swoon worthy at first bite. Absolutely divine.
And in honor of the amazing Italian chef, Massimo Bottura who’s birthday just happens to be Sept. 30, I thought I’d make it … not that I’ve ever met him but his restaurant Osteria Francescana in Modena (inland and just north of Bologna) is on the top of my bucket list. With menu items like …
- An eel swimming up the Po River
- Five ages of Parmigiano Reggiano in different textures and temperatures
- Misery and Nobility: spaghettini alla Cetarese with smoked mozzarella and caviar AND
- We are still deciding what fish to serve!
I literally want to meet the person who lends their words to the dishes as much as I want to taste them.
Oh, and one more note on the caponata, you really should make it and bring it to a dinner party as an appetizer on really crusty bread and watch people be all like, “OMG I thought vegans just ate vegetables.”
HAHAHA. It is just vegetables you morons LOL. But for reals, there is nothing not to love about this dish vegan or not. And while it’s not a stretch to come up with your own version by combining different takes from a gazillion chefs, I just had to put this out because again, it’s amore!
PREP TIME: 40 minutes | COOK TIME: 1 hour
- 2 medium sized eggplants
- 1 red pepper
- 2 zucchini
- 1 onion
- 2 celery stalks
- 3-4 ripe Roma tomatoes
- ½ cup Kalamata olives, halved
- ¼ cup capers
- ¼-½ cup red wine
- Olive oil
- Salt and pepper
- 1 bay leaf
- ½ cup fresh parsley, finely chopped
- ½ cup fresh basil, finely chopped
OR substitute 2 TBS Italian seasoning for fresh
¼ cup roasted pine nuts
Cut eggplant into cubes and “salt” it by placing in a calendar in the sink and sprinkling with salt. Let it sit for about 10-15 minutes then rinse thoroughly and pat dry. Salting it helps draw out the excess liquid so your dish doesn’t get quite as soupy. Not a necessary step but one I prefer. Heat oven to 400 degrees. Once eggplant is dried, spread evenly on a baking sheet, sprinkle with olive oil and roast for 25 minutes. Meanwhile, cut remaining vegetables into same size hunks and saute in an oven-safe dish (like a covered Dutch Oven) olive oil until soft, about 10 minutes. Add garlic, olives and capers and saute for another 2-3 minutes. Add red wine and simmer for 5-7 minutes. Gently fold in the roasted eggplant, add salt and pepper, bay leaf, herbs, and cook covered for 30-40 minutes. When serving, sprinkle with pine nuts. That’s it. Serve with crusty bread and a good bottle of wine … leftovers are fabulous added to pasta, or used to top off seafood or added into a grain bowl for a distinctive Mediterranean flare. Enjoy!!
DISCLAIMER: Our recipes are just that, ours. Some are modified versions of dishes we’ve had elsewhere or old-favorites that contained animal proteins, while others are a concentrated effort of trial and error. But all are intended to be altered by you and made to suit your tastes. So if you want more garlic or none at all, go for it. You do you ; )