What’s with the fish in Pesce d’aprile, Italian for April’s fool day? In our last class we discussed several possible explanations non esattamente convincenti, not quite convincing – ranging from zodiac to fishing-related reasons – and had a laugh, ci siamo fatte quattro risate, talking about the best pranks. People can be really naïve, creduloni!
What we cooked right after is no April fool!
I found this recipe on a lovely book by Simonetta Agnello Hornby, Un Filo d’olio, which my mom gave me a couple years ago. Naturalmente, I made some small changes.
CAPONATA DI MELANZANE
Ingredienti per 6 persone:
- 800 gr. (approx. 1.12 0z) eggplants – MELANZANE
- 15 gr. (0.5 Oz) capers – CAPPERI
- 30 gr. (1.1 oz) celery – SEDANO
- 40 gr. (1.5 oz) green olives – OLIVE VERDI
- 200 gr. (7.1 oz) onions – CIPOLLE
- 4/5 cucchiai (tablespoon) tomato sauce – PASSATA DI POMODORO
- 50 ml. (1.6 oz) red vinegar – ACETO ROSSO
- 1 cucchiaio (1 tablespoon) sugar – ZUCCHERO
- olive oil – OLIO D’OLIVA
- 15 gr. (0.5 oz) toasted sliced almonds – MANDORLE TOSTATE
- salt – SALE
Slice the melanzane in 1-inch thick slices and then cut them into chunks. Sprinkle with salt and let them rest on a colander for about 1, ½ hrs, so they’ll loose the bitter flavor they may have. Remove the pit from the olives, and chop them. Chop onion and celery. Dry the diced eggplants off the brown liquid they produced with some paper, fry them on a large pan (I actually sautéed them) until brown and soft and set aside.
On a different pan, heat some olive oil and add all the chopped veggies, olives and capers. Cook on high heat until onion is soft. Salt to taste. Add the tomato sauce and let it cook for 5 extra minutes. Now turn off the heat and add META’, HALF of the vinegar and HALF the sugar to the minced veggie combo. That’s how you give the agrodolce, the sweet and sour flavor to your caponata. Next, add this mix to the eggplants (after removing exceeding oil, if any), mix well and let it rest. You should then taste it and add some sugar or vinegar if you wish. I personally like it with just half the dose, but I’d like to hear what you think.
Sprinkle with toasted almonds and serve at room temperature or cold. You will love its unique flavor, GARANTITO, I promise!
Here’s your PILLOLA D’ITALIANO. The group sc has a soft sound as in the word show. But the combination sch has a hard sound, as in scheme. Now you know the different pronunciation of the Italian words pesce (fish) and pesche (peaches), so make no mistake if you go to a restaurant!