Caponata is a great classic of Sicilian cuisine, a perfect example of one of the region’s signature flavour combinations, agrodolce (“agro” meaning "bitter", and dolce "sweet"). Its secret lies in the perfect harmony of flavour between sugar and vinegar. Every Sicilian family has its own recipe - there are 36 official recipes - so it would bealmost impossible to find two identical caponatas.
This recipe is from our Cesarina Flavia, who lives near Catania.
Chop the aubergine into cubes and leave to soak in salted water for about half an hour.
Dry the aubergines and fry in plenty of oil, leaving them to rest on kitchen roll once cooked.
Chop the pepper intopieces, making sure to remove the seeds, and then fry in oil.
Chop the onions and celery into pieces and fry in separate pans, each ingredient must cook in its own oil.
When all the vegetables are cooked, put them all in a colander and allow the oil to drain away completely for at least half a day.
Keep some of the cooking oil to one side, and heat it up in a pan. Add sugar and vinegar to the oil. When the sugar
has dissolved, add the tomato.
In a separate pan, heat up the vegetables, add the olives and capers, then cook gently over a low heat. Stir in the oil, sugar and vinegar and continue to heat for a few minutes. If you need, you can adjust the sugar and vinegar to taste.
Leave the caponata to cool and serve tepid.
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