Aubergine and Olive Salad

Caponata

From the elegant Conti restaurant, in Reggio Calabria, comes this delicious recipe for Caponata. Signor Conti himself has very kindly allowed me to use his recipe.

This combination of ingredients is typical of southern Italian cooking. The result is a dish which has varying levels of flavour and a great deal of interesting texture.

Ingredients

  • 2 lb (1 kg) aubergines, cubed
  • salt
  • fl oz (100 ml) olive oil
  • oz (40 g) onion, chopped
  • 9 oz (250 g) assorted pickles (such as onions, peppers, gherkins)
  • 1 oz (25 g) capers, rinsed and dried
  • 6 celery leaves, chopped
  • 2 oz (50 g) green olives, stoned
  • 1 tablespoongranulated sugar
  • 1 wine glass red wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoonspine kernels

Method

Cover the cubed aubergines with salt, put them in a colander in the sink and leave them to drain out their bitter juices for about 1 hour (longer if possible). Then wash and dry them thoroughly.

Divide the oil between two deep pans. Fry the aubergine cubes in one pan. In the other fry the onion, pickles, capers, celery leaves and olives over a low heat for about 15 minutes. When the aubergines are soft and well coloured, remove them from the oil and let them drain on kitchen paper. Add the sugar and vinegar to the onion mixture, let the fumes of the vinegar evaporate and then stir in the aubergines and the pine kernels. Serve warm or cold.

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