Cooking Class: Sicilian Caponata with Michael Sampson - Context Travel

Cooking Class: Sicilian Caponata with Michael Sampson


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Learn how to make an authentic Sicilian Caponata, a delicious and tangy mix of fried eggplant, onion, capers, and olives in a sweet and sour tomato sauce. This dish is naturally vegan and gluten-free and can be served as a side dish or as a starter. Cook alongside chef Michael Sampson, an expert on Sicilian cuisine.

Caponata is a dish with a rich and interesting history that has gone through many different guises: from a rich Baroque dish full of expensive and luxurious seafood all the way to the more humble vegetable dish it is today. Other variations of Caponata including swordfish, artichoke, and even apple which occasionally appear on menus show just how flexible a dish it is while also indicating its rich and varied history.

This cooking class focuses on the most common (and most popular) version of Caponata: Caponata di Melanzane, or eggplant Caponata. The recipe is an amalgamation of the most typical variations of Caponata di Melanzane used over the last century from the areas of Palermo and Ragusa.

During the class we will cook our own Caponata from start to finish, using ingredients that are easy to find in almost any country and employing simple tools that most kitchens will already have. Participants are invited to cook along with this interactive cooking class, or just watch and discuss.

 

Led by chef, culinary instructor, and expert on traditional Sicilian cuisine, Michael Sampson, this interactive lesson will show you how to make the perfect eggplant Caponata. Designed to inform curiosity as well as future travels, participants will come away with an increased understanding of Sicilian culinary history and all the tricks and tips necessary to make this dish at home.

Below are the items you’ll want to participate in this class. We will email attendees the full recipe with measurements and instructions prior to the class, so that you can pre-measure ingredients before joining.

Ingredients

  • 2 large eggplants
  • 1 onion
  • Celery stalk
  • Pitted green olives (1/2 cup)
  • Capers (3 tbsp)
  • White wine or apple vinegar
  • Brown sugar (2 tbsp)
  • Tomato paste (2 tbsp)

Special equipment

We don’t list every item you’ll need here (e.g., standard items like knives, bowls, cutting boards). But we do our best to identify items that may not be in every kitchen, and alternatives where possible.

  • Measuring cups and spoons
  • 2 similarly sized baking trays
  • 1 slotted spoon

Michael Sampson trained as a chef at ALMA school of Italian cuisine in the north of Italy and has been living and working in Sicily for the last 12 years. Michael has worked at the Gambero Rosso cookery school in Palermo, was head chef and teacher at the Anna Tasca Lanza cookery school in central Sicily, and for the last 3 years has been running The Sicilian Pantry cookery school in Palermo’s historical centre where he teaches daily cooking lessons covering many traditional Sicilian dishes with guests from all over the world.

This conversation is suitable for all ages

90 minutes, including a 30 minute Q&A.

Customer Reviews

Based on 4 reviews
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M
M.F.
Charming teacher, lots of extra learning tidbits

This was my second cooking class with Michael. I have made caponata for years but still learned a lot from the authentic Sicilian techniques he presented here, so the version I cooked alongside class was even more delicious. Plus Michael adds a lot of little tips about ingredients and things unique to Palermo.

R
R.S.L.
Wonderful Flavors and Helpful Directions

Advance instructions helped us prep so that we could spend more time watching Michael. We learned a lot and had fun. His onion peeling technique alone made the experience top notch!

F
F.
Really good logical explanations of methods

Have taken many Context lectures and courses. This was my first cooking class. This is an instructor so easy to understand and his demonstration was packed with information about products and methods,

Customer Reviews

Based on 4 reviews
100%
(4)
0%
(0)
0%
(0)
0%
(0)
0%
(0)
A
A.

Guest did not leave comment

M
M.F.
Charming teacher, lots of extra learning tidbits

This was my second cooking class with Michael. I have made caponata for years but still learned a lot from the authentic Sicilian techniques he presented here, so the version I cooked alongside class was even more delicious. Plus Michael adds a lot of little tips about ingredients and things unique to Palermo.

R
R.S.L.
Wonderful Flavors and Helpful Directions

Advance instructions helped us prep so that we could spend more time watching Michael. We learned a lot and had fun. His onion peeling technique alone made the experience top notch!

F
F.
Really good logical explanations of methods

Have taken many Context lectures and courses. This was my first cooking class. This is an instructor so easy to understand and his demonstration was packed with information about products and methods,