Tuesday, December 18th, 2018

Insalata d’Arance & Caponata and Zucchini Sandwiches

Published on January 27, 2009 by   ·   2 Comments Pin It

NOBODY likes eating more than us. So when Jason Wyrick, the executive Chef and publisher of The Vegan Culinary Experience, the world’s only vegan culinary magazine, offered to share some of his Italian fave’s with the GirlieGirl Army posse, you bet your favorite lip gloss we said HELL YAAAA! Healthy? Check! Vegan? Double Check? Delish? Triple Check!

Insalata d’Arance (Orange Salad)

Type: Salad, Italian (Sicilian) Serves: 4
Time to Prepare: 10 minutes

3 oranges, peeled and sectioned
2 tsp. of olive oil
1/8 tsp. of salt
¼ tsp. of freshly ground black pepper
2 tbsp. of chopped flatleaf parsley
2 tbsp. of chopped basil
Option: 12 or so oil-cured black olives
Option: 1/8 of a red onion, sliced

Peel the oranges, getting as much of the pith off of the inside of the oranges as you can. Separate the oranges into their sections. Slice the orange sections into bite-size pieces. Mix the oranges with the olive oil, salt, and pepper. Chop the parsley and basil. Mix the basil into the salad. Options: Mix in either of the optional ingredients when you mix the basil and parsley into the salad. Low-fat Version Omit the olive oil from the recipe.

The combination of basil, parsley, pepper, and oranges in this salad is beautiful by itself, so I find that it’s best to let the salad stand on its own.

Time Management

This is best when eaten fresh as the oranges will lose their crisp texture after about thirty minutes.

Complementary Food and Drinks
Serve this with a side of black olives.

Where to Shop
All of the ingredients should be relatively easy to find as they are commonly available. Approximate cost per serving is $1.00.

How It Works
The oranges and basil are the real stars of this salad, mixing fresh, sweet citrus with the fragrant green of the basil. The olive oil acts as a small coating for the oranges and a smooth dressing for the salad while the pepper gives the salad a little spiciness to complement the sweetness of the oranges.

Caponata and Zucchini Sandwiches

Type: Sandwich Serves: 6
Time to Prepare: 40 minutes

The Caponata
1 small eggplant, diced
1/2 stalk of celery, diced
¼ of an onion, diced
2 tbsp. of diced red bell pepper
6 sundried tomatoes, diced
¼ cup of green olives, diced
1 tbsp. of diced basil leaves
1 tbsp. of diced parsley leaves
1 clove of garlic, minced
1 tsp. of olive oil
1 tbsp. of capers
1 tbsp. of lemon juice
1 tbsp. of currants
The Zucchini Sandwich
6 zucchini
1 tsp. of olive oil
1/8 tsp. of salt
3 large sandwich rolls
¼ cup of red wine vinegar
6 pieces of lettuce

Making the Caponata Dice the eggplant, celery, onion, red pepper, tomatoes, olives, basil, and parsley. Mince the garlic. On a medium heat, saute the eggplant, celery, onion, and red pepper in the oil until they are all soft (about 10 minutes). Add the garlic and continue sauteing this for another 3 minutes. Remove this from the heat. Immediately stir in the sundried tomatoes, green olives, basil, parsley, capers, lemon juice, and currants and set it aside. Making the Zucchini Cut the ends off of the zucchini. Slice the zucchini into thick slices (about ¼) along the length of the zucchini. Slice these in half along the width. Saute the zucchini in 1 tsp. of olive oil with 1/8 tsp. of salt over a medium heat until they are soft (about 5 minutes).
Assembling the Sandwiches Cut the sandwich rolls in half along the width and then slice them in half horizontally. Hollow out the top of the sandwich rolls. Sprinkle the bottom of each sandwich roll with red wine vinegar. Place a piece of lettuce on the bottom slice of each roll. Top the lettuce with zucchini slices. Fill the hollowed out portions of the tops of the sandwich rolls with caponata. Close the sandwich carefully and serve. Low-fat Version Omit the olive oil from the recipe and simmer the ingredients in a thin layer of liquid until the veggies are soft.

Raw Version
Caponata is very easy to make raw. Take the veggies that you would have sauteed and instead mix about 1/2 tsp. of salt with them. Place them in a bowl and then place a weight over them. Allow them to sit for at least an hour, until the eggplant is soft. Rinse the veggies and mix them with the other ingredients. You can make lettuce wraps out of the zucchini and caponata or slice the zucchini in half along the length and hollow out the halves, stuffing them with the caponata.

If I’m putting these out on a platter for people to come by and pick up, then I just find a nice tray and stack the sandwiches on that. My favorite way to serve them, however, is open-faced, because the caponata has a wonderful color to it.

Time Management
Caponata can be made a couple days ahead of time and it also makes a good dip or spread, so try making a big batch and then using it over the next few days. If you’ve got caponata ready, the sandwiches only take about ten to fifteen minutes to put together.

Complementary Food and Drinks

Serve this with a side of fava bean dip to create a good mix of carbohydrates and protein.

Where to Shop

All of the ingredients for this recipe are commonly available, though I either get my capers at Trader Joe’s or from an olive bar that happens to have fresh capers. Make sure the skin of the eggplant is tight, not wrinkled. If you can’t find currants, usually available at Whole Foods, feel free to substitute raisins for them. Approximate cost per serving is $1.50.

How It Works

The caponata is a mix of savory, sweet, and salty, enhanced by the acidity of the lemon juice. The capers and olives provide the shot of salt, with the sweetness coming from the onion, pepper, and currants. The eggplant forms the base flavor on which all the other flavors ride and also absorbs the surrounding flavors quite well. Some of the ingredients in the caponata are not sauteed because applying the direct heat to them would ruin their flavors. The residual heat in the caponata and the pan, however, will cook them for a brief enough time that their flavors release into the rest of the caponata, but those flavors remain relatively fresh. The top of the sandwich is hollowed out to accommodate the caponata. Without hollowing it out, the caponata tends to slide out the side of the sandwich. Red wine vinegar is used to soften the bottom half of the bread.

Check out this month’s Italian issue and subscribe for free at www.veganculinaryexperience.com!

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Readers Comments (2)

  1. brook says:

    mmmmm, these recipes look incredible! they’re going to be even better with my own home-grown (& organic, natch) veggies come summer. thanks for them and the magazine info, cj! xo

  2. Kailin says:

    Fell out of bed feeling down. This has bihrgtneed my day!

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