academia barilla  July 2008

Ingredient and Recipe the Month: Sicilian Caponata with Seared Tuna Steak

Welcome to a new installment of our ingredient and recipe of the [...]

chef-matteo-carboni-academiabarillaWelcome to a new installment of our ingredient and recipe of the month series of blog posts.

The ingredient for the month of July is eggplant (or aubergine, for our Commonwealth readers), and the video recipe presented in the video below by Chef Matteo Carboni of the Academia Barilla Culinary School is Tuna fish with Caponata.

As Chef Carboni explains in the video, Caponata is a Southern Italian traditional recipe, typical side dish in the Sicilian cuisine. The main ingredients are eggplants, bell peppers, onions, and zucchini, cooked with mint, garlic, capers, pine nuts, white vinegar, pistachios, dried sultanas, sugar and vinegar.


The recipe has a long preparation time. Chef Carboni starts chopping all the ingredients in small cubes while soaking the dried sultanas in water. Chef Carboni’s advise on quantities is that the amount of vegetables should equal the amount of seared tuna fish – for two servings 1 pound of tuna and 1 pound of mixed vegetables.

In Caponata, eggplants are traditionally deep fried to gain more flavor. Deep fried eggplant cubes are added to the other ingredients only at the end.


In a frying pan Chef Carboni pours a little bit of Academia Barilla Monti Iblei Sicilian extra virgin olive oil, and start sautee the red onion first, then red pepper and, at last, the zucchini.

After a 3 or 4 minutes minutes we can add the other ingredients: capers, sultanas, pine nuts, sugar, white vinegar, pistachios, and the deep fried eggplant. Once the Caponata is ready, Chef Carboni puts it at rest in a warm place, and moves on to the Tuna steak.

The tuna steak should be at least 1 inch thick to be correctly seared, advices Chef Carboni. To prepare the steak, season the steak with salt and pepper.


In a frying pan Chef Carboni puts some Italian extra virgin olive oil, crushed garlic (to be removed later) and sears the tuna steak with 1 minute cooking time per side approx. When the tuna steak is seared, it can be served as a whole steak, or cut into slices, as in Chef Carboni’s serving suggestion.

As a final preparation and serving tip, Chef Matteo Carboni suggests to use a tin stamp to serve the caponata on the side of the dish, while serving the sliced seared tuna steak on the other side, not before giving a final touch with Academia Barilla Monti Iblei extra virgin olive oil, Academia Barilla Natural Sicilian Sea Salt flavored with Blood Orange Zest, and freshly ground pepper. Academia Barilla products are available at the best gourmet food stores, and also online at the Academia Barilla online store.


As a final presentation touch, Chef Matteo surprises us adding few deep fried basil leavesbravo, Matteo! See you soon again on Italian Food Lovers!

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