Sicilian Caponata - This Weeks Featured Recipe
Caponata is a Sicilian side dish (condimento) often made from aubergine (eggplant), onion, red bell pepper, tomatoes, raisins, celery and capers, using olive oil, vinegar, sugar, salt, pepper and fresh basil to garnish. There are various versions of this dish which may include either courgette, potato or olives but the recipe below is my favourite! Picture from Kelliesfoodtoglow.com.
- 5 small firm eggplant, Italian preferred
- 1 onion, chopped
- 3 celery ribs
- 500g fresh tomatoes, San Marzano or plum preferred
- 1/2 cup Cerignola olives or your favorite
- 2 tablespoons capers, drained
- 5 fresh basil leaves
- 1/2 cup red wine vinegar
- 1/2 cup water
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1 cup half Extra-virgin olive oil - half vegetable oil
- 2 tablespoons Extra-virgin olive oil
- sea salt
- Sprinkle the eggplant with sea salt and mix to coat well. Place in a colander to drain for 30 minutes.
- Rinse the eggplant well and dry on paper towel.
- Cut the onion into one-inch pieces. Set aside.
- Cut the celery into half-inch slices. Set aside.
- Remove the seeds from the tomatoes. Cut into one-inch cubes. Set aside.
- Roughly chop the olives. Set aside.
- Pour the vinegar, water and sugar into a small pot.
- Over medium-high heat boil until reduced by half and the vinegar mixture is syrupy.
- In a heavy-bottomed pan heat the oil mixture and when hot add the eggplant.
- Fry the eggplant until it is golden-brown all over, about 10 minutes.
- Drain the eggplant on paper towels. Set aside.
- Pour out the oil and wipe the pan with a paper towel.
- Put the pan back on the flame and add 2 tablespoons of Extra-virgin olive oil.
- When the oil is hot add the onion and celery and saute until they are softened and have some golden color, about 5 minutes.
- Add the olives and capers and mix well.
- When the pan is at a sizzle add the tomatoes and mix well.
- Cook until the tomatoes are soft, about 5 minutes.
- Add salt to taste and mix well.
- Mix in the fried eggplant and mix well.
- When everything is sizzling pour in the vinegar mixture and mix well.
- Cook everything together for 5 minutes.
- Turn off the heat and roughly rip the basil leaves into the pan and mix well.
- Serve at room temperature. Extra-virgin olive oil