It’s not sufficient to eat only one bite of caponata to appreciate it; you need to taste it slowly, savouring every single ingredient. Caponata scents of sun matured tomatoes meanwhile its flavour is sweet and sour. The origin of caponata is not clear and there are many interpretations of it but the only certain thing is: you’ll never have enough.
Origins of caponata
There are three most reliable interpretations. The first one derives from Latin, the second from ancient Greek and the third from an ingredient. Let me explain it better.
The most ancient interpretation concerns the term “Capto” meaning “cut” in Greek. It could refer to the many vegetables you need to use to prepare it. In Mediterranean Area there are 37 different recipes and all include at least 5 vegetables.
The second interpretation, instead, refers to the Latin term Cauponium (tavern), a place where tired sailors went to have some drink and food. The best snack for them was a piece of bread seasoned with capers, garlic, tomato, olives and anchovies: the basis ingredients of caponata.
The last one tells about Capone (dolphinfish). Once there was a sweet and sour course with vegetables and fish. Maybe it was only intended for nobles and became soon more simpler and suitable for poor people.
Nowadays caponata is considered one of the most delicious side dish, that can be also eaten as the main course.
The most famous type of Italian caponata
As I told before, there are 37 recipes of caponata but the most common are:
From Catania: having red and yellow peppers, tomatoes, onions, celery, white olives, capers, extra virgin olive oil, salt and sugar. In some recipes you can find basil and potatoes.
From Palermo: having fried eggplants, capers, green olives, celery, basil, tomato sauce, onions, almonds or pine nuts, salt, sugar, extra virgin olive oil, vinegar. In Winter as eggplants aren’t available, they substitute them with artichokes.
From Naples: stale bread seasoned with extra virgin olive oil and vinegar, salt, pepper and a bit of sugar. On the bread you find lettuce, endive, boiled dolphinfish, cucumbers and peppers. A very different recipe from the Sicilian ones but good as well.
Any type of recipes you choose you’ll have in your mouth an explosion of aromas that you can better appreciate tasting it with a slice of durum wheat bread.
What about trying traditional sicilian caponata? Find it in the Sicily joy Appetizer box.