Sicilian caponata

A few years ago we had a lovely holiday in Sicily – I remember seeing miles and miles of eggplant farms and eating many versions of this dish.  I have tried many caponata recipes and this is my favourite .  This eggplant dish is lovely served warm or cool, it keeps well in the fridge so you have your vegies sorted for a couple of meals.  Caponata makes a beautiful side to some grilled lamb, tuna or swordfish.

 

18250_l
Sicilian caponata
Author: rachel
Ingredients
  • 1 medium eggplant
  • coarse salt
  • 1 tab olive oil
  • 1 stalk celery, trimmed, sliced thinly
  • 1 medium (150g) onion, sliced thinly
  • 400g tin peeled and diced tomatoes
  • 2 red capsicums, diced
  • 1 tablespoon salted capers, rinsed
  • 1 tablespoon pine nuts, optional
  • a handful of black or green olives
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 clove crushed garlic
  • 2 tablespoons wine vinegar
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
Instructions
  1. Cut the eggplant into small cubes, sprinkle with a little salt and leave to drain for 30 minutes. Pat dry.   *Heat oil in a large pan, add onion, capsicum and celery,  Cook over moderate heat for 5 minutes.   Add eggplant and cook for a further 5 minutes, stirring.
  2. Add tomatoes, vinegar, sugar and crushed garlic.  Cook for 2 minutes.  Add olives and capers, stir well.  Simmer, partially covered, for 15-20 minutes or until most of the liquid has evaporated.  Season to taste with salt and pepper and sprinkle pinenuts over to serve.
  3. *  To salt or not to salt? In Europe eggplant is salted before cooking to remove the bitter juices, but the improved varieties grown in Australia have lost this bitterness – unless they have been on a greengrocer’s shelf too long. Some say salting also helps to reduce the amount of oil absorbed during cooking.

 

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