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Baked Caponata al forno

BAKED CAPONATA AL FORNO
Written by Veronica Lavenia

Baked Caponata al forno is a key of my Summer table.

Caponata, a staple of Sicilian food and the Mediterranean Diet, is a triumph of scents, a simple ritual in which fresh vegetables are a key ingredient and the art of knowing how to dose the bittersweet (agrodolce) defines the success of the recipe.
There are different versions of this dish, which evolved according to the times and customs of the cities of the Island. The traditional Sicilian dish gets its unique sweet and sour flavor from sugar mixed with vinegar. The classic Caponata is fried. I propose the healthier baked version. Lighter but just as tasty.
Usually, Caponata, is served as appetizer or side dish. You can also enjoy it with pasta for a rich main course. Great over a slice of rustic warm bread or for stuffing Italian paninis, fits perfectly as a side dish with vegetable dishes such as soy or seitan burgers.

Baked Caponata al forno: Ingredients

Serves 4-6

4 purple eggplants (aubergines)

4 red and yellow bell peppers

2 onions

2 tomatoes

1 stalk of celery

50 g (2 oz) Sicilian desalted capers

Extra virgin olive oil, to taste

Pinch of sea salt

1 glass of apple cider vinegar

3 tablespoons light brown sugar

Sprig of basil

 

Baked Caponata al forno: Method

  1. Wash and slice the eggplants (aubergines), bell peppers, onions and tomatoes. Cut the celery into thin pieces.
  2. Arrange the vegetables in a baking dish and topped with capers, a sprig of basil, olive oil and salt to taste.
  3. Bake in oven at 180°C (350°F/ gas 4) for 30 minutes. Take out the pan from the oven, add a cup of apple cider vinegar and four tablespoons of brown sugar.
  4. Stir and cook for another 30 minutes. Once cooked, take out of the oven and let cool.

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About the author

Veronica Lavenia

Veronica, PhD, is an Italian based food writer. Born and raised in Italy, surrounded by the thriving culture and spirit of Sicily, Veronica was a University academic before becoming a food writer. In the context of academic research, she has published essays on the Spanish-American narrative in national and international Academic Journals. As freelance journalist, she wrote about book reviews and tennis. Food was the subject she thought about most so, inspired by family recipes, and valuable Italian culinary heritage, she moved into writing her experiences and studies on the subject.
Sustainability, seasonality and selection of raw materials (as much as possible local, organic and unrefined) are the basis of Veronica’s natural food philosophy.
Cookery author, "Gluten Free Heaven" magazine contributor, some of her works have appeared in "Vegetarian Living", "Veggie Magazine", "Lifestyle FOOD", "Australian Good Food & Travel Guide" and "Chickpea", among others.