"I Have some American guests to House 500g. what they would want a typical palermitan supper for Thursday 13 February. Are you free for that date?". "I don't remember, it waits for control the diary. Yes, ok, I’m free."
And so, in fibrillation and some embarrassed, position of food and wine I have presented that day to the family Grunewald. There were all the generations: the founder, their sons, a nephew and an aunt. Relaxed, who on the couch, who around in the room, they have welcomed me with joviality and funny smiles.
I have started throw out the provisions from the packages: Sardinians' meatballs, panelle, caponata of artichokes, salad of fennels and oranges with vinaigrette to honey and mustard, ragout to the Sicilian way - that with the touches of meat and sausage, to intend us - to serve with the fresh noodles done by me, parfait of almonds.
While I was being busy to organize me in the kitchen, I have realized that the guests had some hunger and I have asked: "formal or informal supper?". They unanimously answered me in almost choral way: "Informal."
Loosened the ice (very it also loosened in the glasses) and, that evening, a started as unexpected as extraordinary friendship with the "marvelous Grunewald".
To that point I have started to serve the appetizers and to chat with them.
I must confess that convict was the caponata of artichokes and therefore, wishing me that can have the same benefits effects for the one who prepares and offers it, here is the recipe.
Ingredients (for 10 people): 12 artichokes; 3 big onions; half celery; 500 g. of mature tomato; 200 g. of tomato paste; 200 g. of white olives; 200 g. of capers; 1 teaspoon of bitter cocoa; 200 vinegar ml; 50 g. of sugar; salt; oil extravergine of olive; oil to fry.
Procedure: You clean the artichokes from the harder external leaves, cut you them in segments and plunge you them in a bowl with cold water and juice of lemon so that doesn't blacken. You put on the fire a pot with some water and few white vinegar. Reached the excitement, you throws inside the artichokes, salty and you make to cook for about 5 minutes. Drain you them and hold them aside, covered.
Prepared now the seasoning, that can be used for realizing it well more famous caponata of eggplants but also to season dice of fish or meat and with any other vegetable of your pleasure.
To clean and to cut, I recommend not too slightly, the onion. To clean and to reduce the celery to not much little pieces. To put both the ingredients in a pot with the oil extravergine of olive and to make them to cook covered, having care to sometimes mix, to very moderate flame until when the onion won't have faded. To this point, to remove the cover and to lift the flame. You add the skinned fresh tomato and cut to dice and to keep on cooking for about 5 minutes. You can now add also the tomato paste looses in a glass of warm water, the capers and the olives pitted cut to half. To lengthen with another glass of warm water and to make to cook to moderate fire, stirring again every now and then, for around half an hour or until when the juice doesn't result well narrow. To complete "the bittersweet one" adding sugar, the vinegar and the cocoa and to make to fall through for about 2-3 minutes.
You fry, for few minutes, in abundant oil of seeds, the artichokes prepared previously and to unite them to the seasoning, remixing well. To leave to rest at least half day.
Suggestion: the caponata is considered both an appetizer and a delicious contour. Seen the long procedure, prepare you of it in abundance and already freeze it in portions so that to have it ready to the necessity.
The amount of sugar and vinegar can be dosed according to yours own taste.
The addition of the cocoa is optional. The use of the greedy dust was introduced in the Sicilian cuisine during the period of the Spanish domination, but with the time this custom has gone lost. I often use in my salty preparations because it brings a particular aroma and an fragrant and persistent aftertaste.
N.B.: This recipe has been written above all for Jo Ann Grunewald, to which I had promised her but not yet maintained. Determinants have been the strong pressures of her son Matthew… I am joke about Matt, of course.