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Caponata is the perfect bridge between summer and autumn

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Photo: Sam Palazzi

Eggplants are in season from summer to early autumn when they are still young.Then we A soggy straggler imported into the produce aisle. So I urge you: Celebrate eggplant now with one of Sicilian’s best concoctions.

Caponata is an antipasto made with eggplant, celery, onions, olives and capers.everything is cooked together In a way that isolates and highlights the best flavors of each ingredient. Toss it all together in a sweet and tangy tomato sauce, And then there’s the beloved Sicilian staple, which is also a collage of the different cultures that have left their mark on the island.

What’s so special about Caponata?

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Photo: Sam Palazzi

Capon for Siciliansata is serious business.Some readers like peppers, pine nuts, Or raisins. That’s because, despite the simplicity of caponata, there are a surprising number of recipes that originate from locations across the island, such as Palermo, Catania, Messina, and Argento, and even more variations from household to household.

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Photo: Sam Palazzi

Throughout history, Sicily was repeatedly conquered by different civilizations. The Norman and Arab empires that left a lasting mark. As a result, one of the most amazing things about Sicily is how different cultures have influenced its cuisine. The caponata alone has Greek olives, Italian tomatoes, and Arabic influences of agrodolce and (sometimes) raisins. with myself They coexist in a sweet, spicy and lively compote. But above all, it’s an edible metaphor, a constant reminder of Sicily’s diverse history.

How to serve caponata

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Photo: Sam Palazzi

Caponata is usually served as an appetizer to eat on its own or with bread, but it’s incredibly versatile. Serve on toasted bread like bruschetta. Layer on sandwich. Toss with fresh pasta and plenty of grated cheese. Pasta alla Norma, but you can’t go wrong with parmesan cheese. Also a nice acid balance as a side. For grilled fish and other meats.

But my personal favorite combination might be caponata and sausage. Of the many ways to eat caponata, its function as a condiment is the most enjoyable. Tomato puree, sugar and vinegar are the main ingredients of ketchup. An element that brings out the flavor of Caponata’s agrodolce.

How to make Caponata (at least one version):

material:

  • 5 Italian eggplants or 2 large eggplants, cut into 1-inch cubes, left unpeeled
  • 1 red onion
  • 2-3 diced celery
  • 1 cup Passata or tomato puree
  • 1 cup Castelvetrano olives, seeded and cut in half
  • 3 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • 6 basil leaves
  • 1 tablespoon capers (preferably sea salt)
  • 1 tablespoon pine nuts
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 cup grapeseed oil
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 cloves of crushed garlic
  • Season with salt, pepper and red pepper flakes

Sprinkle the diced eggplant with salt, preferably 30 minutes before frying. Sweat away excess water. Heat a generous amount of grapeseed oil in a frying pan. (Traditionally, extra virgin olive oil is used for frying, but eggplants absorb oil like a sponge, so grapes have a high smoke point,The seed oil helps the eggplant brown beautifully without being absorbed too quickly.

Heat olive oil in another skillet or skillet and add minced garlic and a pinch of red pepper flakes to let the oil soak in flavor. Then add the onion and celery and sauté over medium heat for 5-10 minutes until cooked through and translucent. Add the passata or tomato puree to the onion and celery, season with salt and let the sauce simmer for 10-15 minutes.

At this point all the separately cooked (and uncooked) ingredients come together. Remove sauce from heat and add fried eggplant, olives, capers and all remaining ingredients. Then mix the caponata and put it back on the stove and simmer for about 10 minutes before cooling to room temperature and transferring to the refrigerator to let the flavors meld. That said, if you grab a bite beforehand, you won’t be disappointed.

Caponata is the perfect bridge between summer and autumn

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