Caponata is something I never really thought I'd make. As a child and an Italian child at that, I would turn up my nose at such dishes, much to the dismay of many of my relatives.
But I've grown into caponata and now count it among my favorite vegetable dishes. A combination of cooked eggplant, tomatoes, olives, capers and golden raisins, often with a little vinegar and sugar, caponata has a unique sweet, savory, briney flavor. I try to make it each summer, when the vegetables are in season. Unsure about adding raisins to vegetables? I was too, but have faith, they make this dish.
Caponata is excellent plain, with a sprinkle of parmesan, but it's also good as a pasta sauce, or over sliced, baked polenta rounds, or on top of cooked polenta seasoned with parmesan and fresh basil. You can even use it as a topper on grilled chicken or fish, on bruschetta, or in a vegetarian sandwich with some melted provolone or fresh mozzarella. It works as a side dish with just about any recipes. It's super versatile, low calorie and brimming with antioxidents and all that good stuff. It also freezes pretty well.
I usually use Rachael Ray's caponata recipe; she's Italian and I like her version. That's good enough for me. I add fresh basil, but otherwise follow the recipe as written, although I cook the onions until soft before adding the rest of the veggies.
I've found as I get older, my tastes buds have expanded and I love many foods I wouldn't touch in the past. Did this happen to you? What do you eat now that you wouldn't as a kid?