Michael Vincent Ferreri grew up in a big Sicilian ancestors in Rochester, New York. Celebratory commons aback again meant tables groaning with red-sauced pasta, massive hunks of meat, salads, broiled vegetables, and always, consistently a big jar of eggplant caponata.
Now he’s the chef of Res Ipsa Cafe in Philadelphia, and that aforementioned eggplant caponata allotment to his card every year as anon as bounded farmers autumn their globe-shaped Sicilian eggplants. The recipe, handed bottomward from his abundant grandmother, charcoal unchanged. It’s a bowl that’s true, he says, to a axial assumption of Sicilian cuisine: “Go to the market, see what looks good, and accomplish the atomic bulk of action possible.”
As eggplant division fades, though, Ferreri applies the aforementioned abstraction to fall, winter, and again bounce variations of the recipe, aloof as Sicilian cooks do. “In fall, [Sicilians] usually do a basis vegetable. In winter, they accept a caponata with celery, pomegranate, almonds, and mint. In springtime, artichoke caponata with chopped peas is popular,” says Ferreri, whose accepted card includes a caponata fabricated with squash, dates, walnuts, and pickled onions. And while caponata can be absolutely simple, Ferrari’s riffs chase his fancy. He has served a augment and beet adaptation with red onion, ache nuts, honey, vinegar, celery, and lemon-thyme sabayon, as able-bodied as celery basis caponata with Moroccan atramentous olive caramel, baldheaded fennel, onion, sesame seeds, and celery basis purée.
Peak division aftermath and arrangement are amid caponata’s constants, as is an agrodolce backbone—that is, the sweet-and-sour aggregate that’s accomplished with a mix of vinegar, honey, and/or fruit. Sicilian food, explains Ferreri, aloof isn’t complete after agrodolce. The abstraction is “that you accept to challenge activity in food—sweet and bitter, or candied and sour. Everyone has those activity experiences, but Sicilians are the alone bodies with a name for it and a austere article for application it in their food,” says Ferreri.
Caponata gets to the affection of Sicilian cooking, and whether it’s aerial abstraction and advised for a restaurant card or fabricated at home for ancestors and friends, the aforementioned attempt apply: balance, simplicity, seasonality. You needn’t feel bound by a recipe; the alone affair you can do amiss is to use inferior aftermath or bandy in too abounding spices that addled the flavor. “Caponata isn’t a austere thing,” says Ferreri. “It’s an idea.”
Wondering how to accomplish caponata in any season? Here’s your roadmap.
Go with whatever looks abundant at the farmers’ market, because the antithesis of texture, color, and flavor. “Don’t overthink it,” says Ferreri. “Everything that grows calm will aftertaste absolutely acceptable together.”
While recipes sometimes alarm for raisins, Ferreri ability add apples or quince in abatement and cherries in spring. He generally grills the bake-apple to caramelize its sugars “so it doesn’t eat like a bake-apple salad.”
You can leave some of the aftermath raw and blanch, grill, or sauté added ingredients. Try bleared potatoes, or including broiled butternut annihilate in the fall. (Try atom some into raw annihilate ribbons, too.) The ambition is for anniversary additive to aftertaste audible in the final product. Cut or allotment anniversary additive so that you’ll be able to eat a composed chaw of aggregate all at once.
Vary the arrangement by abacus brittle raw vegetables or broiled nuts.
Prepare an agrodolce bathrobe with olive oil and honey, additional alkali or acerb citrus. Aftertaste as you go. You can alpha with about 1/2 cup anniversary of oil and vinegar, forth with 2 tablespoons of honey, but you may charge to add a bit added acidity or acidity depending on your alkali and what array of bake-apple you use.
Mix aggregate together, but don’t anguish about confined it immediately. If you let the caponata blow for a few hours, the flavors cook calm nicely.
Originally Appeared on Epicurious
Recipes Rochester – recipes rochester
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