Caponata is an incredibly flavoursome Sicilian aubergine stew and really, really worth a try! Sicilian food is a mixture of traditional Italian and North African influences, and in this dish the aubergine, tomatoes, capers, raisins and white wine vinegar create a dish that is rich, sweet and sour all at the same time. My boyfriend (a man who is not over the top with compliments) loved it too. It’s delicious on it’s own, on some crunchy toasted bread, with pasta or couscous. It also works well hot or cold and will last a couple of days in the fridge!
I did quite a bit of research to keep the Caponata recipe authentic but without a long list of ingredients, and am confident this is a winner. Hope you like it : )
Katie’s Caponata (serves approx 2)
1 medium to large aubergine, cut in to small cubes
1 onion, chopped small (white or red onion is fine)
2 cloves garlic, crushed
Small shake of dried mixed herbs or small handful of chopped fresh basil or parsley (depending on what you have at home or what you fancy)
Tin of chopped tomatoes
2 heaped tsp capers
1 heaped tbsp raisins
Optional – large handful of pine nuts
1-2 tbsp white or red wine vinegar, depending on your taste
Optional – grated parmesan cheese, to sprinkle on top
To avoid having to cook the aubergine in lots of oil, firstly place it in a colander or sieve, lightly salt it (ensuring the salt is mixed in) and leave it for at least 30 minutes over the sink. This will draw out the aubergine’s natural juices, which will drip a little in to the sink.
Heat some oil in a pan and add the aubergine. Fry it for 10-15 minutes, until softening, then add the onion, garlic and whatever herbs you have chosen. Fry for another 5 minutes, until the onion is softened, then add the tin of tomatoes, capers, raisins, pine nuts (if using) and vinegar. Leave it to simmer for at least 20 minutes, until the tomatoes have reduced down and you are left with a sticky, rich, tasty sauce. Add salt, pepper and a wee bit more vinegar if you think it needs it (the other flavours might be plenty!)
Serve the caponata with a little olive oil drizzled on top. Enjoy it on it’s own, on toasted bread, with pasta or couscous. Grate over some parmesan if you fancy!