ingredients, including celery. When researching this dish, I was surprised to learn that celery is an ancient Mediterranean herb and vegetable; originally using just the leaves or seeds for flavour – and more recently using the whole plant. In fact, in northern Italy, you’ll notice people buying a stalk or two of celery for flavouring and rarely see it used as a vegetable in a dish.
The flavour of Caponata is derived from the addition of olives and capers and a little vinegar and sugar at the end of the cooking period – this gives it its distinctive ‘agrodolce’ taste i.e., sour, and sweet. You may not have associated Italian food with sweet and sour dishes, but this is a typical and very old tradition in Sicily where fruit, vegetables, olives, and capers were preserved in brine, oil, vinegar and/or dried to last the winter.
Note: I have given precise quantities for the recipe – but you can use these as a guideline and add or subtract amounts according to availability and taste
Note: you’ll need 2 large deep pans or pots for this – that way you make it more quickly!
Recipes from Katie Verling & Jacques
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