There are many different versions of caponata, but this in my opinion is the best. It is basically Antonio Carluccio’s recipe, with one subtraction and one addition. Caponata is a traditional Sicilian aubergine stew. It is simultaneously rich while still being quite healthy (especially if you follow the advice of soaking the aubergines first). I have tried and failed to make caponata on many occasions with other recipes, and this one was a complete success. It would be nice as part of a mix of dishes, rather than as a stand alone main dish, as like I said before, it is quite rich. This was made as part of a selection of dishes to introduce a more red blooded friend to the joys of vegetarian food following two days of eating about 70% of a cow, and it seemed to be a successful introduction. Serves 4 as a side dish, or 6 as an antipasta dish.
- 800g aubergine
- 1 large onion, peeled and chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, chopped
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tin chopped tomatoes
- 1 tbsp tomato puree
- 1 tbsp caster sugar
- 1 tbsp salted capers.
- 20 green olives, pitted and chopped.
- 1 tbsp white wine vinegar
- 1 head celery (leaves and stalks), chopped
- salt and pepper
- Cut the aubergine into 3cm chunks, soak in cold water for 5 minutes, then drain. This will stop the aubergine from absorbing too much oil.
- Fry the aubergine in 2-3 batches over medium heat, depending on the size of your pan, for approximately 10 minutes or until soft and golden.
- Fry the onion and garlic in the olive oil in a large pan for a few minutes to soften. Add the aubergines, tomatoes, tomato puree, sugar, capers, olives, vinegar, celery leaves and stalks, and some salt and pepper, and stew slowly until everything is melted together, about 30 minutes.
- Serve hot, warm or cold (it is particularly good cold the next day)