Caponata (Sweet and sour aubergine)

May 19, 2019

Caponata (Sweet and sour aubergine)

Serves 4:

  • 4 medium aubergines
  • 2-3 celery stalks
  • a handful of pitted olives (green or black but choose good quality ones)
  • 2 tablespoons of capers
  • a handful of sultanas, pre-soaked in warm water 
  • a handful of toasted pine nuts
  • 2-3 plum tomatoes, diced
  • a few thin slices of red onion, chopped
  • 2-4 teaspoons of a good quality red wine vinegar
  • 1-2  tablespoons of tomato passata or 1 teaspoon of tomato puree
  • 1-2 teaspoons of caster sugar
  • a bunch of basil
  • dark chocolate for grating (about 1 tablespoon)
  • salt and pepper
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • vegetable oil for frying

Cut the aubergines into 2 cm cubes, sprinkle with salt and leave to drain in colander for at least one hour. After that squeeze gently the aubergine pieces to get rid of excess liquid

In a pot or a pan heat up the vegetable oil and deep fry the aubergines until golden on all sides. You may have to do that in batches, it is important not to overcrowd the pot and adjust the heat of the oil to avoid burning.

Place the fried aubergine pieces onto a plate layered with kitchen paper (to absorb extra oil).

Now slice the celery sticks (not too thinly) and deep fry them for 2-3 minutes until lightly golden. Remove from the oil and drain on kitchen paper.

As soon as the aubergines and celery stalks are done, place them (hopefully still slightly warm) in a large bowl, add the rest of the components of the caponata. Sprinkle with the sugar and the vinegar to taste. Drizzle with olive oil and add the passata or the tomato puree as well as hand torn basil leaves. Give it a gentle stir making sure that all the ingredients are well coated with the dressing.

Season with a bit of salt and pepper. The final step is to grate the dark chocolate on top to your liking.

*If you are not eating the caponata immediately, cover it with cling film and let it rest on the side but don’t put it into the fridge.