Sicilian eggplant caponata is a veggie stew with a distinctive Mediterranean flavour and a delicate hint of sweet and sour. Several variations of the Sicilian eggplant caponata include other ingredients such a garlic, sweet peppers, octopus or swordfish. Mandatory ingredients that can’t be missed are eggplants (aubergines for my British friends), olives, onions, capers, tomato sauce and, of course, vinegar and sugar to give a touch of sweet and sour flavour. Sicilian aubergine caponata is very easy to store long-term in glass jars using the bain-marie method so it is available anytime you fancy, or, in the case of seasonal eggplants not being available. Tastes best when warm as a side dish, cold as a starter or, like in the old days, as a main dish accompanied by delicious fresh bread. As it is a very versatile dish, Sicilian eggplant caponata can easily top pasta, rice, couscous, bulgur / broken wheat or simply on its own!
Sicilian Aubergine Caponata
Number of People: 8
An inviting dish full of Mediterranean flavours
- 2 kg eggplants
- 3 celery
- 2 large onions
- 30 green olives (do not use pitted olives in brine)
- 1 or 2 tablespoons capers
- 100 ml vinegar (add or decrease the amount to taste)
- 750 ml tomato sauce
- 4 tablespoons sugar
- fresh basil
- extra virgin olive oil
- sea salt
- Wash and cut the eggplants into large cubes being careful not to remove the skin. Pour the diced eggplants into a colander and sprinkle with sea salt. Lay the colander over a bowl, toss gently and leave to rest for about an hour so they can sweat and get rid of the water in order to remove their bitter taste.
- Meanwhile, wash and dice all the celery stalks after removing the leaves, blanch for a few minutes in lightly salted water and drain all of it.
- If necessary remove the pits out the green olives and cut them in halves.
- Fry the chunks of eggplant in extra virgin olive oil until they are thoroughly cooked and softened. Remove from the pan and pour into a large bowl.
- Pour the diced celery to the same pan where the eggplants cooked. Add extra virgin olive oil if necessary. Fry for a few minutes and pour it in the bowl together with the eggplants.
- Do the same with olives, pouring them in the same pan and stir fry them for a few minutes. Remove from the pan and add to the bowl along with the eggplants and celery.
- In a very large pan, fry the sliced onions coarsely in extra virgin olive oil until transparent. Add the tomato sauce, plenty of fresh basil to taste and cook for 15 minutes.
- Add the eggplant, celery, olives, vinegar, sugar. Mix everything and correct with salt if necessary.
- Serve hot, cold or keep in the fridge for a few days .
- If you wish, you can add 2 sweet peppers (1 red and 1 yellow) sliced into strips and cook with the onions.
- Add chilli pepper if you prefer to give a some hot spiced flavour.
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