In a departure from baking today I am presenting a savoury recipe, Caponata Caponata is a Sicilian vegetable dish, of fried aubergine, also known as eggplant. Other vegetables are used in the dish, such as celery, onions and tomatoes as well as green olives and capers.
It is also quite common to add some pine nuts into the dish, or some chopped cashews to give an extra texture, but that is entirely optional.
The addition of some tomato paste, white wine vinegar and sugar give the dish a lovely sweet and yet slightly acidic taste. This taste is known in Italy as agrodolce, agro for sour and dolce for sweet. I have also, in the past, swapped out the sugar for stevia in a much smaller amount, which also worked very well.
The dish is a sweet and sour one, which is usually served at room temperature, though I actually eat mine chilled from the fridge most of the time.
It can be served as a appetiser, on toast or crusty bread. It can also be served as a salad to accompany fish dishes or maybe meat.
I have never been a fan of celery, olives or capers. In fact I would never eat them at all. But, it seems, that as we get older our tastes may change since I now enjoy all three of those and in this dish they are just perfect.
The recipe I used is based on one which I saw on Giallozafferano though I have adjusted the ingredients.
The recipe is very easy to make and doesn’t take too much time. But, as with most recipes, it is made much simpler if all the ingredients are prepared before starting any cooking.
Then it is just a matter of frying the aubergines, draining them and setting them aside. Then the other ingredients are cooked in a large frying pan before adding the aubergines in at the end.
The result, as with mine, is a simply delicious dish that can be served however you wish. For me I like to eat a dish of them everyday, until it is all gone, for lunch or as a snack in the afternoon.
Another stove-top recipe which is easy to make and is Mincemeat. It can be made soon, ready for for baking mince pies for Christmas.
If you enjoyed this recipe please share it with your friends, so that they can too.
Caponata – A Sicilian FavouriteCourse: Stove top recipesCuisine: SicilianDifficulty: Easy
750g (1lb 11 oz) aubergine(eggplant) chopped into 1.5 cm(3/4 in) cubes, roughly
150g(5 1/4 oz) tomatoes, chopped into 2 cm/1 inch pieces
300g(10 1/2 oz) celery chopped into small chunks
200g(7 oz) onion, quartered and sliced
150g(5 1/4 oz) pitted green olives, halved
42g(1 1/2 oz) capers, washed and drained
54ml(3 tbsp) white wine vinegar
45g(1/4 cup minus 1 tsp) sugar
30g( 1 oz/about 2 tbsp) tomato paste
30g(1 oz) pine nuts, or some chopped cashews. Slightly toasted. Both are optional
Olive oil for deep frying aubergine and then just a little for frying everything else
chopped basil to taste, optional
- In a large pan heat some olive oil, about 1-2 inches deep.
- Fry the aubergine, in small batches, until they turn translucent and then take on some colour.
- Drain the aubergine in a colander and then spread on some paper towel to dry on some of the excess oil.
- When the aubergines are all fried set them aside until later.
- Heat two tablespoons of olive oil in a large pan.
- Fry the onions on a low to medium heat until they have softened.
- Add the celery and continue to fry until they just begin to brown a little, about 4 minutes.
- Add the tomatoes, olives, pine nuts and capers and stir around, letting them brown a little, for about one minute.
- Cover the pan and simmer the contents for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Mix the tomato paste, white wine vinegar and sugar together and pour it into the pan, then stir it around. Allow it to cook for a minute or so, until the sharpness of the white wine vinegar has cooked off a little.
- At this stage you can also add salt and pepper if you wish, though I prefer not to.
- Add the aubergines into the pan, along with the chopped basil if using, and stir to combine everything.
- Allow to cool to room temperature before serving.