Caponata is a delicate Sicilian vegetable dish. There is no single recipe, as there are reportedly over 30 known variations. You can taste it in many ways. Caponata can serve equally well as an appetizer or as a side dish to the main course. It is served warm and cold; some say it is best after two days of resting.
The basis of caponata is always eggplant, to which tomatoes and other vegetables are added, such as celery or onion. Sicilian caponata is very similar to French ratatouille, but unlike it, caponata contains olives, capers, and vinegar.
The history of caponata dates back to the 18th century. Its name originally referred to a dish containing fish from the tuna family – del capone. However, the poor could not afford the expensive fish and replaced it with cheaper eggplant. And so caponata was born in the form we know today. Caponata is still prepared with cubes of fish meat in some recipes – for example, swordfish.
I tasted caponata in Palermo at Al Vecchio Club Rosanero restaurant, where it was incredible. The eggplant was excellently prepared, not bitter, and the flavors were beautifully connected. One portion here cost 4 EUR. Caponata, for which I would love to return.
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