Caponata is a perfect summer dish of vegetables
Caponata is a perfect summer dish of vegetables that are in the original recipe made from eggplant, celery, tomatoes, olives, onions, basil, capers and vinegar. Caponata is typically used as a side dish for fish dishes or meat dish such as fried chicken, and goes…
Caponata is a perfect summer dish of vegetables that are in the original recipe made from eggplant, celery, tomatoes, olives, onions, basil, capers and vinegar. Caponata is typically used as a side dish for fish dishes or meat dish such as fried chicken, and goes well with beef and veal, and if you want a lighter meal, serve it with cooked rice, pasta or omelette. It’s great as an appetizer or as a snack with crispy or fried bread or toast. You will not go wrong if you serve it chilled for lunch during the summer days.
Also this traditional Italian dish can be prepared with artichokes, potatoes and fennel.
Italian housewives agree that the Caponata special flavor coming from combination of eggplant and celery and favorite ingredients. Not only that, each house has a family recipe and some secret ingredient so the caponata vary from region to region.
For example, residents of Palermo in their caponata added a little octopus, a version of an aristocratic Sicilian recipe includes a little lobster and swordfish with the addition of tuna and shrimp. Some recipes even include almond
flakes and ingredients such as cinnamon and chocolate, or cocoa. However, these examples are exceptions to the general rule of a sweet and sour cooked vegetable stew or salad.
Mainly, in the north put more celery, in the south put more ports, in Tuscany add more carrots. Humblest caponata is Venetian. It containing only aubergines, celery and capers.
The recipe has been taken from Hugh Fernleys-Whittingstall’s ‘River Cottage Veg Everyday’cookbook. Serves 4.
2 medium eggplants cut into 1cm cubes
2 tbsp.olive oil
1 onion finely chopped
2 inner celery stalks finely chopped
1 garlic clove chopped
6 largetomatoes peeled, deseeded and chopped
2 tbsp. balsamicvinegar
1 tbsp. soft brown sugar
1 tbsp. finely grated dark chocolate (optional)
2 tbsp. baby capers
50g stoned green olives sliced
Sea salt and finely ground black pepper
Handful of parsleyor mint chopped
Sprinkle salt on the eggplant cubes and leave to sit for about 30 mins to draw out the juices. Rinse and pat dry with a tea towel
While the eggplant is salting, heat 1 tbsp. olive oil in a large pan. Add the onion, celery, garlic and fry over a low heat for 10 minutes. Add the tomatoes and simmer for 5 minutes to reduce a little
Add the vinegar, chocolate (if using) sultanas capers and olives to the pan. Simmer for another 5-10 minutes, then turn off heat
In another pan heat another 1 tbsp. oil and fry the eggplant cubes for 5 mins
Add the tomato mixture and cook for a further 10 mins. Taste and adjust seasoning
Serve straight away or leave in fridge for a day or two for flavours to enhance. Allow dish to come to room temp before serving
Sprinkle with parsley and/ or mint and serve