The following recipe isn't from Graziano's, but if you're in the mood to whip up an authentic Sicilian meal at home, here is one of Sicily's most popular and versatile eggplant dishes. From "Italia" by Antonio Carluccio, published by Quadrille.
Caponatina di Melanzane (Sicilian Eggplant Relish)
Caponata can be eaten warm but it is also delicious cold.
600 grams (approximately 4 cups) eggplant (ideally you want the pale violet type of eggplant, also known as aubergine, without too many seeds)
6 to 8 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 large onion, sliced
2 celery hearts (inner heads only), cut into little chunks
500 grams (approximately 3 1/2 cups) ripe tomatoes, chopped
100 grams (approximately 2/3 cup) pitted green olives
60 grams (approximately 1/4 cup) salted capers, rinsed
100 grams (approximately 2/3 cup) slivered almonds
2 ripe but firm pears, cored, peeled and sliced
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
50 grams (approximately 1/3 cup) caster sugar
50 milliliters (approximately 2 1/2 tablespoons) white wine vinegar
CUT the eggplants into cubes the size of a walnut. Immerse in salted water for 1 hour, then drain, squeezing the water out. Pat the eggplant cubes dry.
HEAT about 6 tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil in a sauté pan and fry the eggplant cubes until golden. Scoop them out with a slotted spoon and set aside.
FRY the onion until soft, adding more oil to the pan if necessary.
ADD the celery hearts, tomatoes, green olives, capers, almonds, pears, cinnamon and cloves.
SIMMER for about 20 minutes.
ADD the eggplants to the mixture with the sugar and wine vinegar.
TASTE for salt and cook for another 10 to 15 minutes.
SERVE hot or cold with bread as part of an antipasto or as a side dish with hot or cold meats or fish.
Reach Judy E. Hamilton at judy.hamil...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-1230.