Caponata salad is my summer dream. Aubergines, cappers, tomatoes, and celeries are finally reunited in this iconic Italian salad after the long winter months.
A much-awaited summer
I have been longing for summer as never before during lockdown. Looking outside the window from home, I often found myself counting the days. Summer slowly became a symbol of freedom and the time I might see my family again.
It’s now summer, and the wait is even more difficult as restrictions start lifting, but international travel is still incredibly hard. Hopefully, soon we can hug again.
The uncertainty of future plans makes me find comfort in the past and all the precious memories of long hot Italian summers.
As a child, I used to spend my school holidays curved up on our garden’s hammock under a big acacia tree. I spend my days dreaming with my eyes open, lost in the acacia pink blossoms.
I devoured one book after another and found friends in Jo, Beth, Amy, and Meg, but also of course Harry, Ron, and Hermione, and a burning crush on Alex Rider.
I tried to convince my cat to join me on the hammock with lots of scratches and little success. I rocked the hammock so hard pretending to fly until I felt sick to the ground.
I barely changed clothes and only walked to visit my grandparents ten minutes away.
What a blissful childhood boredom!
The long visits of Lucia, my cousin, broke my routine. She brought me back to earth with her sweet laugh. We shared silly jocks, innocent secrets, and sadly boring schoolwork too.
Visits to Sofia and Valeria, my other lovely cousins, were the major summer event! I loved sitting at the table surrounded by my huge family, a bit too loud for the neighbours. Each meal ended with huge slices of juicy watermelon and us children fighting for who had more mosquitos’ bites.
I was also lucky enough to go on holiday and explore so many beautiful places with my family. Despite I am now addicted to taking pictures, I dreaded holiday photos so much. Once I decided to strike and not to smile in any picture for two good weeks. What a rebel I was!
During summer, I also loved to steal precious moments with my brother Nicolò. We often doubted to be actual siblings with his skin, caramel tan, and mine, sunshine red.
I am chopping aubergines, tomatoes, celery, and onions. The smell brings me back home. If I close my eyes, I can still breathe the Italian stuffy summer air.
I am glad to share our caponata salad with you, and virtually invite you to the summer table of my childhood. Come on in, but don’t forget to wear mosquito repellent!
Caponata salad and an ode to summerCourse: SidesDifficulty: Easy
Caponata salad is my summer dream. Aubergines, cappers, tomatoes, and celeries are finally reunited in this iconic Italian salad after the long winter months. It tastes even better the day after.
250 g white onions
300 g celery
800 g aubergines
160 g green olives
400 g canned cherry tomatoes
50 g capers
50 g pine nuts
10 basil leaves
oil & salt to taste
60 g white vinegard
30 g tomato paste
1 heaped tablespoon of sugar
- Put your favourite music on, sing out loud, and chop all the veggies
- Brown the onions for 5 minutes
- Stir in the celery for 3 minutes
- Add the aubergines and cook for 20 minutes on a low heat with a pinch of salt (don’t overdo it as the capers are quite salty)
- Add the capers, olives, and tomatoes. Cook for 10 minutes on a low heat
- Stir in the white vinegar, tomato paste, and sugar on high heat for 2 min
- Turn off the heat and add the pine nuts
- Chill the mouth-watering caponata at room temperature for at least one hour.
- Add lots of basil leaves before serving
- Caponata tastes even better the day after!
- Caponata should be served cold, even straight out from the fridge if you are greedy like me.