Whether it’s enjoyed as an accompaniment to a main dish or on its own over pasta, caponata is a mainstay of Italian cuisine.
De Laurentiis says caponata can be enjoyed ‘hot, cold, or at room temperature’
In her cookbook Everyday Italian, the chef writes that caponata “is one of the great Sicilian vegetable dishes, often eaten as a relish alongside pork roast or fish. The eggplant-based recipe features a wonderful sweet-and-sour taste, one of the hallmarks of Sicilian cooking—a combination of sugar and vinegar that provides a tingling push-and-pull sensation in the mouth.”
The Simply Giada star added that the dish was a constant in her childhood home, frequently enjoyed “as an antipasto, spooned over toasted bread.” Leftovers, she added, made for “wonderful sandwiches.”
What’s even better about this side dish or light meal, De Laurentiis pointed out, is it “can be eaten hot, cold, or at room temperature, making it the ultimate vegetable dish for a casual party.”
The chef’s dish is a perfect warm-weather option
In addition to eggplant, the Eat Better, Feel Better author’s recipe calls for celery, onion, red bell pepper, canned diced tomatoes, raisins, dried oregano leaves, red wine vinegar, sugar, and capers.
The celery is softened in an oiled large skillet until it’s “crisp-tender.” The eggplant is added until it’s tender, followed by the red pepper, onion, and diced tomatoes. De Laurentiis noted to make sure the tomatoes’ juices are included. Now the raisins and oregano go into the mixture; it’s seasoned with salt and pepper and simmered over medium-low heat “until the flavors blend and the mixture thickens.”
The vinegar, sugar, and capers are stirred in, as well as salt and pepper, and it’s done! De Laurentiis suggests serving this on ciabatta bread with slices of fresh mozzarella.
If this dish reminds you of ratatouille, you’re right, as the chef points out on Giadzy: “Eggplant caponata is sometimes referred to as the Italian version of the French Ratatouille, as it follows a similar procedure: eggplant and other vegetables cooked down until tender, delicious, and flavorful.”
What sets caponata apart from the French classic is the inclusion of the red wine vinegar, capers, sugar, and raisins.
Get the complete recipe, reviews, and video on Food Network’s site.
De Laurentiis’ appetizing caponata was a hit with reviewers
Saucy and delicious, the chef’s caponata is a hit-the-spot meal that’s as delicious at a picnic as it is for an elegant gathering, as reviewers noted.
“I made this the night before a romantic picnic with my husband. It kept well in the refrigerator and the bread soaked up all the flavor. … I’ll definitely make this again, whether it be for my family or a party,” one home cook wrote.
Another person stated, “I’ve made this a few times. Every time it is soooo good. Everybody loves it. It’s not difficult at all. The raisins and capers make a difference in my opinion. Even if you don’t include them, the meal is still very good.”