I want to be Sicilian (with Tyler Florence, of course)!

I just bought this lovely book with the lovely man on the front cover (isn’t he sooo cute?). And I needed a recipe to fulfill my bento lunch box for tomorrow’s work day.

Let me tell you about his book. It is full of gorgeous recipes! I love the way Tyler Florence cooks his food (not to mention, he makes for good eye candy)! Full of flavor, life, & health. Pretty much my motto, right?

Well, the caponata contained all the ingredients I love, contained all stuff that was already in my cupboard and just sounded super yummy! It was.

Classic Sicilian caponata is an…

eggplant dish that is traditionally served as an accompaniment to fish or eaten on its own, as an appetizer, with bread. The flavors hit your tongue in a few different places. It’s spicy from the chilies, bright from the balsamic vinegar, salty with the capers and sweet with the raisins. (Brilliant) Served at room temperature with all the ingredients melting into one taste.

Sicilian Caponata
adapted from page 176

1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoons dried red pepper flakes
1 large eggplant, cubed
2 tomatoes, halved, seeds squeezed out, coarsely chopped
1 red bell peppers, chopped
1 medium onions, diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
3 tablespoons capers, drained
1/4 cup raisins
1/8 cup balsamic vinegar
Pinch of sugar
Leaves from 1 bunch of fresh basil, torn ino pieces by hand
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

To make the caponata, pour the oil into a large, deep skillet and put that over medium heat. Add the anchovies and red pepper flakes and cook and stir for a few minutes to create a flavor base. Turn off the heat and let the flavors infuse into the oil for a few minutes. Then turn the heat up to medium -high. Add the eggplant and fry it in this infused oil, stirring often, until it gets brown and sticky, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes, red bell pepper, onion, and garlic and continue to cook about 15 more minutes. Throw in the capers, raisins, balsamic vinegar, sugar, and basil. Lower the heat and simmer slowly until thickened, 30-35 minutes.

Season with salt and pepper and set aside (the caponata tastes great hot, cold, or at room temperature).

The flavor infusion was even more estatic the next day.