Caponata

Sweet and Sour Sicilian Aubergine Stew

Ingredients

  • 2 large aubergines
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • olive oil for frying
  • 1 large onion, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 5 celery stalks, trimmed and thinly sliced
  • 4-5 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
  • 200 g (7 oz) fresh or canned plum tomatoes
  • half a dozen olives
  • 2 tablespoons capers, well rinsed
  • 2-3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon light muscovado sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cocoa
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 tablespoons flaked almonds, lightly toasted

Method

Remove the stalks from the aubergines. Dice, put in a colander, and sprinkle with the salt. Leave to drain for an hour or so. Rinse, and rub dry in a clean tea towel. Fry until golden brown, remove from the oil, drain, and put to one side.

In the remaining oil, gently fry the onion, celery and garlic until soft, and then add the tomatoes, olives and capers, and simmer for 20 to 30 minutes.

Stir in the vinegar, sugar and cocoa, bring to the boil, simmer for 5 minutes, remove from the heat, and allow to cool.

Season to taste, cover, and keep in a cool place or refrigerator for 24 hours to allow the flavours to develop. Serve garnished with the almonds, and perhaps some flat parsley leaves. I like this best cold, but it can be served hot, and is very good with rice, pasta or good bread.

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