What is Caponata?

Cutting Squash 20150107_101811 20150107_103916 20150107_104525Caponata is a Sicilian dish used all around the Mediterranean region. Traditionally it consists of fried chopped eggplant as the base of the dish. Added to this is a bit of celery and onion, capers, and vinegar. These are cooked together and cooled to make a stewy sweet and sour salad.

Our take on caponata in the Casablanca sandwich is from a Moroccan angle (the sandwich being named for the largest city in the country.) We use diced butternut squash as the base for our preparation. The squash is lightly sauteed in oil with diced onions until semi-soft. To this base we add chopped kalamata olives, tomato paste, cocoa powder, lemon zest, and sultana raisins soaked in vinegar. Then the raisin vinegar goes in. This mixture cooks together for five to ten minutes just to allow the flavours to marry. The whole thing is then cooled and stored, and re-warmed for sandwiches.

the casablancaThe result is a hearty mixture but with a simultaneously sharp and smooth flavour. The richness of the squash, tomato, and cocoa are nicely balanced with the sweetness from the raisins, the saltiness of the olive, and the acid of the vinegar and lemon. Warm it up a bit, slap it between two slices of bread, add some fresh goat’s cheese and grilled zucchini, and you have our latest sandwich!