La Caponata

The Caponata

Caponata is one of the most mysterious dishes of Sicilian cuisine starting with the name "la caponata" or "caponatina". A dish with ancient traditions that owes its rebirth to the magical world of the Florios.

It all began when the sweet and sour sauce arrived with the Saracens, born in pre-Islamic Persia. A sauce born from a religious philosophical concept. In the Persian texts of the Sasanian period above all, we speak of the principle of the opposition of the forces of good and evil and we are struck by the analogies between the ancient Persian doctrine and the canons of harmony applied to foods. The search for the balance between the sun and the moon, black and white, sweet and sour, the harmonious sweet and sour: of vinegar and honey. The first to use it continuously were the crews embarked on Sicilian ships to flavor soups and biscuits. Some scholars argue that the name was created by the "Monsù" who used them for short-term conservation of hares, rabbits, pheasants, groupers and above all capons. On books it appears for the first time in " Ethymologicum Siculum" printed in Messina in 1759: under caponata we read "dish made of various things" Only later in the happy time of the Florios, the scholar Vincenzo Mortillaro in his Sicilian Italian dictionary of 1876 specifies: "capunata: sort of delicacy where fish enters, petrociane (aubergines), artichokes and other condiments and is mostly eaten cold, or between one dish and another for taste or after hot dishes" .

There are exactly 36 codified recipes for the various caponatas and all rigorously documented. We don't know who was the first or the first to use fried aubergines in those sauces and salads scented with sweet and sour.

Its moment of glory and rebirth suddenly returns to the Sicily of the Florios together with the finally cheap tomato. As always in Sicily and also in the third millennium, interpretation is once again entrusted to the imagination and creativity of their women.


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