Sicilian caponata elevates burgers

By Jim Bailey
theyankeechef.blogspot.com

Here is a great summertime burger I believe you will be making over and over again. Sicilian caponata is generally prepared with what culinary experts call Sicilian aubergine. But being a Yankee, it is simply eggplant.

Sicilian preparation methods introduce a sweet and sour sauce as well, but I think that is just too much for a simple burger so I added just a subtle hint of sweetness from the grated apple while keeping this classic recipe true to form.

Although not truly a veggie burger, the addition of caponata as a topping promotes this juicy burger to a level that is both refreshing and different. Try it and see for yourself.

4 toasted English muffins
1/2 pound ground beef
1/2 pound ground pork
1 apple, peeled, cored and grated(to equal 1/2 cup)
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon celery seeds
Salt and pepper to taste
Veggie caponata topping, recipe below

In a large mixing bowl, combine beef, pork, grated apple, oregano, basil and celery seeds. Add salt and pepper to taste. Form into 4 patties and place in refrigerator while preparing veggie caponata topping.
When ready, cook burgers either outside on the grill or inside in a skillet to your liking. Add a patty to each toasted English muffin and top with your homemade veggie caponata. Serve and enjoy!

For the veggie caponata topping: 1 small eggplant(peeled, cored and diced), salt, 1/4 cup olive oil, 2 teaspoons minced garlic in oil, 1 carrot (peeled and sliced thinly), 1 rib celery(thinly sliced), 1/2 pound fresh tomatoes (cored and chopped), 2 ounces roasted red bell peppers (chopped), 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar, 2 teaspoons capers, salt and black pepper to taste.

Place the eggplant in a large bowl and liberally sprinkle salt over them, turning so that most of the dices are touched by the salt. This shouldn’t take any more than 2-3 teaspoons. Let this set for 20 minutes. Rinse well under cold water, let drain and pat dry with paper towels.

In a large skillet, add the olive oil and garlic over medium-high heat. When hot, add the carrot and celery, saute for 3-4 minutes, or until celery is starting to soften. Add the eggplant, tomatoes and bell peppers. Cook, while frequently stirring, for 10-12 minutes, or until carrot is crisp tender. Reduce heat to medium-low and add vinegar, capers and celery seeds. Allow to simmer 2 minutes. Remove from heat, season to taste with salt and pepper.

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Filed Under: The Yankee Chef

About the Author: Jim Bailey is a third generation Yankee Chef, New England food historian and newspaper columnist. His first cookbook, simply titled The Yankee Chef, has been published. He welcomes all feedback, questions or comments at theyankeechef@aol.com.

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