caponata

One of the many dishes in Italy I cannot go without is caponata, a sort of sweet and sour eggplant concoction of Arab origin that has been made in Sicily in one form or another for the better part of 1000 years. While there is no doubt that it is best consumed there, I think a pretty strong rival can be found at Via dei Serpenti 19 in Rome. I am speaking, of course, of Al Vino Al Vino, my favorite wine bar where some of the best damn caponata around is served either on tartine (a bit spooned onto small slices of bread) or in a heap on a plate (I prefer this communal help yourself style). The owner Giacomo’s mom makes loads of caponata at home and he brings in a new batch daily. Like so many recipes in Italy, caponata’s ingredients vary; hers combines eggplant, capers, onion and liberal amounts of tomato. Compare this to the eggplant-olive-celery-capers recipe served at Taverna dei Fori Imperiali a few blocks away. Of course, both use lots of extra virgin olive oil, vinegar, sugar and love. I think it is worth trying both for the sake of comparison, but I think you will agree, Giacomo’s Sicilian mamma does it better.