Caponata

Updated February 18, 2014

Caponata is Sicilian sweet and sour cooked vegetable stew or salad and it is one of my very favourite things for lunch or a light dinner. Full of complex flavours and textures, and a great showpiece for the beautiful spring vegetables hitting the market.

I’d recommend enjoying it with crostini and some fresh mozzarella.

caponata alla siciliana

Serves 4 as a main

Ingredients

2 medium eggplants (aubergines), cut into bite-sized pieces
1 large red onion, diced
2 spring onions (scallions), light green and white parts, sliced
2 large cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 large or 2 small red peppers (capsicums), cut into bite-sized pieces
2 stalks celery, sliced about 1cm (1/2″) thick
12 black olives, pitted and roughly chopped
1 tbsp capers, roughly chopped
3 tbsp pine nuts
3 medium tomatoes, seeded and roughly diced
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
2 tsp golden (raw) sugar
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
olive oil for frying

Directions

Spread the pine nuts in a skillet and toast over medium-low heat until just starting to brown. Set aside.

Fry the eggplant in a large skillet in 2 tablespoons of olive oil on a medium-low heat until browned – 10 to 15 minutes. Drain well on paper towel.

Add a bit more oil to the skillet and fry the red onion until translucent, about 3 minutes.

Add the spring onions and garlic, red pepper and celery and fry for a few more minutes, until the vegetables are justing start to soften.

Add the olives, capers and pine nuts and fry for a few more minutes.

Add the tomatoes and bring to a simmer, then add the eggplant and simmer for about ten minutes.

Stir in the sugar and vinegar and simmer for another couple of minutes, then add salt and pepper to taste.

Serve at warm or at room temperature.

Crostini

1 medium baguette, sliced about 1.5 cm (1/2″) thick
1/2 cup olive oil
coarse sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 175°C (350°F).

Arrange slices of bread on a baking sheet, brush both sides with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper as desired.

Bake until golden, about 15 minutes. Flip and bake an extra 3 minutes if not browned enough.

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