Sunday, October 9, 2011

Caponata - The Sicilian Condiment

Caponata
Caponata has to be one of the most versatile condiments known to the Italian table.  It’s a Sicilian sandwich spread with bold flavors that hit every part of the palate. It holds its own against charcuterie typically produced in Italy.  But this condiment has a much wider reach than many may realize.  I’ve often used it as a pasta sauce, salad dressing, frittata filling, and the list goes on and on.  Now as far as preparing this dish goes, once all of the chopping is done, it's a breeze to make.  So sharpen your knives and break out your cutting board because once you’ve made a batch of caponata you'll be eating well for weeks my friends.    

Ingredients:
·         1 eggplant
·         1 zucchini
·         1 pepper
·         4 hot peppers
·         2 stalks of celery
·         1 large onion
·         4 large cloves of garlic
·         ½ cup black olives
·         ½ c green olives
·         2 tbs capers
·         2 tbs raisins
·         olive oil
·         1 large can of diced tomatoes
·         ¼ cup of balsamic vinegar
·         salt and pepper to taste

Video Tutorial:



Instructions:

1.      You’ll need a very large nonstick sauté pan or large pot and add 2 tablespoons of olive oil. 
2.      Wash all of the veggies and peel the onion and garlic.
3.      Dice the eggplant then add it to the pan with the 2 tablespoons of olive oil with some salt and pepper then begin to sauté over a medium heat while you chop the zucchini. 
4.      Stir the eggplant then add the zucchini and give it a stir then return to that cutting board and dice the bell pepper and hot peppers and add them to the pan.  Adding another teaspoon or so of olive oil and a little more salt and pepper. 
5.      Dice the onion and celery, add it to the pan and give it all a quick stir. 
6.      Mince the garlic and add it to the pan with the tomatoes and balsamic vinegar then stir in the capers, raisins and olives.  I like to just smash the olives just a little to help them break into smaller pieces in the final dish. 
7.      Cover and simmer for 20 minutes then taste to see if you think it needs additional salt.

So what do you do with this veggie relish now that it's made? 

The Caponata Chronicles 



Caponata and Flatbread Crisps





Try serving it at room temperature or cold with some flatbread crisps.  These were made using a gluten free pizza crust from Rudi’s Bakery. (recipe covered in the video)












Caponata Pizza






Make a Caponata Pizza with that other crust that comes in the Rudi’s pack. (recipe covered in the video)









Caponata Frittata Sandwich




 

 

 
Make a Quick Caponata Frittata and have a sandwich on a gluten free bun.  I’ve got a Rudi’s whole grain hamburger bun in this one.  (covered in the video)














Caponata Panzanella





Here’s a Caponata Panzanella Salad.  That classic bread salad never tasted so good.  Again I am using a Rudi’s whole grain bun in this tasty lunch.  (covered in the video) 








 


Caponata Salmon Salad







Now here’s a new edition to the chronicles that was not covered in the video.  It was lunchtime and I was famished so I quickly poached a piece of salmon straight from the freezer, chopped up some romaine, then added some fresh sliced mushrooms, a few grape tomatoes and the flaked salmon.  I dressed the whole thing with ¼ cup of caponata that I loosened up with a little extra balsamic and olive oil for this spectacular lunch for one. 



 





Caponata with Sausage and Ziti


10-20-11  This dish is an incredible use of a 4 oz. piece of sausage and a 1 cup container of caponata that I rescued from the freezer last night anticipating my lunch today.  I grabbed a few button mushrooms from the fridge and threw them into a skillet with the crumbled sausage while I waited for the pasta water to boil.  When I dropped the 2oz of  pasta into its pot, I poured the caponata into the pan with the sausage.  A few minutes later the cooked pasta joined the party in the pan.  After tossing it all together and adding a few shavings of parmigiano reggiano this incredible lunch for one was ready.  Now don't you wish that you had made a batch of caponata a few weeks ago like I did.

 



Caponata Linguine and Tuna


10-26-11  Early this morning, while gathering ingredients to pack my daughter’s lunch I spied another one cup container of caponata in the freezer.  My mind drifted to what I might have for lunch today.  With caponata I knew whatever I decided it make it would be delicious.  After pondering all morning I ended up pairing it with a tiny can of tuna (3.5 oz) and 3 oz of quinoa linguine.  It was another awesome meal made with an incredibly versatile condiment.  I’d say this speaks for itself.    





Caponata Stuffed Pepper

11-19-11 It’s time to wrap up the caponata chronicles.  Last night I retrieved the final container from the freezer.  It was three cups worth which was the largest container I had stored away.  I made a simple filling for my stuffed peppers by combining the Sicilian condiment with some sautéed sausage, cooked quinoa, and brown rice.  I used about half of the caponata in the filling and the other half to make a quick creamy tomato caponata sauce to serve with my ziti side dish.    Alas my friends you’ll have to admit that once you’ve made a batch of caponata you will be eating well for quite some time.  Until next time my caponata condiment.  Until next time.

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