From the volcanic island of Pantelleria, off the southwest coast of Sicily near Tunisia, comes this bold caponata by Kazzen. Caper bushes are one of the few native plants that thrive in the island’s rocky terrain and intense heat, and Pantelleria capers are known to be the most flavorful and largest in Italy. Caponata is similar to ratatouille, comprised mainly of cooked-down summer veggies to become a luxuriously silky condiment, but caponata adds big, punchy flavors like those famous capers for a bright, flavorful dish that can be used as a spread, a side, a dip and more.
Thanks to its position in the Mediterranean, Sicily has been home to many different cultures over the centuries, including Greek, Arab, and Spanish. It’s likely that caponata borrowed a little bit from each of these traditions, as is the case for a number of Sicilian specialties. Today, there are about as many variations on caponata as there are chefs in Italy, including this one from neighboring Pantelleria. In addition to eggplant, the one constant is an agrodolce flavor, a sweet-and-sour note that is achieved with vinegar and sugar or extra-sweet tomatoes.
Run by three brothers from Pantelleria, Kazzen is dedicated to sharing the unique bounty of their home with the rest of Italy and the world. A true labor of love, Kazzen uses traditional methods and recipes to continue the flavorful legacy of their island. Their motto is “specialità dell’isola”—specialties of the island—and their capers, oils, and delicious sauces and spreads will bring a taste of Pantelleria to your home.Caponata has a bold, sweet-and-sour flavor with chunks of eggplant, celery, olives, and, of course, capers. It is always delicious as an antipasto or snack at aperitivo hour with some crusty bread and white wine, or as an accoutrement to a snacking board. It can also be served alongside seafood and other proteins or tossed with pasta.