On our last night in Sicily, we came home from a long day at the beach to a house filled with the amazing aroma of traditional Sicilian flavors. The team at Don Venerando had been busy cooking all evening. When you stay at a Thinking Traveller’s villa, you can cook for yourself, or request anything you want for dinner. We opted for traditional Sicilian cuisine so that we could have an authentic experience.
Dinner included an antipasti of simple grilled eggplant and eggplant caponata. We also had the best almond pesto pasta (get the recipe here). The caponata was gone quickly. We all scooped it up with pieces of bread and even just began eating it by itself with a fork – it was that good! The caponata was made with large pieces of fried eggplant and red peppers, it melted in our mouths.
Even if you’re not a big fan of caponata, this one is like no other we’ve ever had. It wasn’t mushy or finely diced. We’ve had caponata before, but never like this. What’s the secret? They shared their caponata recipe below. When frying at home, we also like to use peanut oil as it has a high smoking point, and tends to not smell as much when frying. If you’re looking for more eggplant recipes, try our baked easy eggplant parmesan recipe here, and be sure to get our free Italian recipe book here.
- 2 large eggplants, chopped into ½ inch cubes
- about 375 gr tomato passata (puree)
- ½ large white onion, diced
- 100 gr green olives, chopped
- 2 celery sticks (no leaves), diced
- 3 or 4 peppers (red or green), chopped into ½ inch pieces
- a handful of pine nuts
- a handful of capers (in salt, rinsed)
- Golden raisins (as many as one wants)
- 1 and ½ tablespoons white vinegar
- 3 teaspoons of honey
- extra virgin olive oil
- Fry the eggplants in olive oil until tender and set aside
- Fry the peppers in olive oil until tender and set aside.
- Brown the onions in a pan with the celery, add the tomato passata, green olives, raisins, and pine nuts and cook for about 15 minutes over low heat.
- Turn off stove and add the eggplants and the peppers. Mix well.
- Add salt to taste.
- Stir together the vinegar and honey and add to the mix.
- The secret is to let it cool down before eating it, because otherwise the flavours will taste altered.