Caponata - Ralph's Grandmother's Original Recipe

Caponata is the perfect Summer cooking project - it combines fresh eggplant, onions, and celery with canned tomatoes, capers and pinenuts. It cooks down into a wonderful spread for bread or crackers. It can also be used as a relish, condiment, side dish, or a sauce when tossed with hot pasta.

Folks love caponata and they demand the recipe whenever I make it here in the "nut house". And so I share it with everyone below. It is in handwritten scribbles from my dear friend and favorite pennywhistler, Dr. Ralph Minervino of Rochester NY.

Far too many traditional, old-fashioned, family recipes are lost in the modern day shuffle. So, so SAD!

  • Some family recipes are pitched without notice in a de-cluttering frenzy.
  • Some are declared not worth the weight in an ill-prepared, manic move.
  • Others are overlooked because they are simple scribbles on old, faded and torn slip of paper that have been tucked into an outdated, falling apart cookbook.
  • Some treasured recipes are sold in the garage sale - out they go, right along with the old recipe box. So, so, so VERY sad but lucky us. We can simply scoop these old cookbooks and recipe boxes up for pocket change and, when we get home, we can enjoy a taste of history as we explore these petite treasure chests and diaries full of edible, family history and secrets. Sometimes I feel like I've made a new friends that way.

Maybe I'm strange and maybe it's a little too spooky for you but the fact is that you can tell a lot about folks by what they eat. And it's fun to see what they ate back in the day.

I'm pleased to say that, thanks to my passion for preserving family history through food, my friend Ralph recently called his sister who found his Italian grandmother's handwritten recipe for caponata. Ralph has written it down here for us to enjoy and to pass on. And so I am doing just that on this rainy, Summer morning.

YUM YUM. Enjoy!