My father used to talk about his mother and aunts making this dish in Italy. Somewhere in the back of my mind, I remember eating this as a child, the same way I remember eating caponatina. The smell of the vinegar and unusual taste of the vegetables just etched the experience in my mind.
This vegetable side dish or antipasto is a specialty from my father’s town of Ragusa in Sicily. It is eaten like you would eat a caponata, as a condiment or part of an antipasto with provolone cheese and dried sausages. This savory vegetable dish is great on its own with a loaf of Italian bread and a glass of red wine. The most popular way to use A Stemperata is to cook it with chicken, sword fish, tuna or rabbit. You brown the meat and then cook A Stemperata in the pan then add back the meats and vinegar to finish cooking. This is always served at room temperature. It’s a most flavorful dish!
- 1 1/2 cup pitted green olives, whole
- 4 cloves garlic, crushed
- 1 1/2 cups carrots, skinned, sliced into rounds
- 1/2 cup capers, rinsed and drained
- 7 stalks of celery, sliced
- 1/2 cup fresh mint leaves
- 1 cup of red wine vinegar
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- salt & pepper
Peel the carrots and cut into 1/4 inch thick rounds. Steam in a 1/4 cup of water for 5 minutes.. Drain. Brown whole crushed garlic in olive oil over medium heat.
Add olives, capers, chopped celery and boiled carrots, and mint. Salt and pepper to taste. Turn heat to medium high.
Cook until the celery starts to get tender, about 10 minutes. Pour in the vinegar and cook on a high flame for another 10 minutes.
Serve chilled or at room temperature.
You can also enjoy this vegetable dish with any light meat such as Italian sausage, chicken, sword fish, tuna, pork or rabbit. Add a glass of red wine and a loaf of crisp Italian bread and you can start to sing praise to our ancestors!