Caponata di Patate (Potato Caponata)
This unusual caponata is a sort of a potato salad, but those Sicilian agrodolce (sweet-sour) touches take it to a different realm. Olives and capers give it an addictive salty punch. You can serve it just as you would any other potato salad, with grilled meats and fish and other vegetables sides. It’s also nice served alongside a classic eggplant caponata.
- 1/4 cup golden raisins
- 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus a little more if necessary
- 2 pounds waxy potatoes, such as Red Bliss or Yellow Finn, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
- 2 medium yellow onions, halved and thinly sliced
- 2 stalks celery with leaves, chopped
- 1/4 cup salt-packed capers, thoroughly rinsed
- 1/3 cup slivered toasted almonds
- 1/4 cup toasted pine nuts
- 1/2 cup chopped, pitted green olives
- 1/4 cup tomato sauce, plus more to taste (see instructions in recipe for classic caponata from Southeastern Sicily)
- Pinch of dried Greek oregano, crumbled
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley or basil
Adapted from wsj.com
In a small bowl, cover raisins with hot water and set aside to plump.
Heat olive oil in a wide skillet over medium heat. Use a hot oil or candy thermometer to determine when it reaches frying temperature, 360 degrees. Working in batches, fry potatoes until golden and crisp at edges, about 15 minutes per batch. Use a slotted spoon to transfer to a colander to drain. Take care to maintain an even frying temperature from batch to batch. Reserve oil for cooking onions.
If pan is dry, add a couple more tablespoons oil. Decrease heat to low and sauté onions, stirring frequently, until very soft, 15-20 minutes. (Be careful not to let onions brown.) Add celery and cook until just slightly softened, about 5 minutes.
Stir in capers. Drain raisins and add to pan along with toasted nuts and olives. Stir in fried potatoes and tomato sauce until potatoes are lightly coated. Add a few more tablespoons tomato sauce if needed to coat potatoes.
Add oregano and season generously with black pepper. Taste and add salt as needed. Transfer caponata to a serving bowl and let cool to room temperature, ideally allowing it to rest a couple of hours to let flavors meld. Just before serving, top with chopped parsley.