Thursday, 17 May 2012


There are probably as many recipes for Caponata as there are Sicilians, from whence it comes.  Giorgio Locatelli has more than four variations in his latest book on Sicilian cuisine.  So choosing a recipe will always be a matter of personal taste.  I don't like it too oily, I like the aubergine to be quite chunky, and for me it has to have celery in it.  I also like it quite sweet and sour so add a splash of wine vinegar, and a salty tang from stoned picholine green olives and salted capers.  You could add raisins if liked for extra sweetness and to ramp up the Moorish influence, and some toasted pine-nuts are nice to add crunch and protein if feeding veggies or vegans.  But please - no peppers, they aren't authentic.  Here is my version, a hybrid between a Jamie Oliver and Giorgio Locatelli recipe.

Heat a couple of tablespoons of olive oil, and saute a large onion chopped, with 3 stalks of chopped celery.  Don't colour them, but allow them to soften, and the onion to go translucent.  Stir in an aubergine, chopped into one and a half inch chunks, and stir and sautee until they soften too.  Don't add more oil, as they'll just drink it up.  Add a couple of cloves of crushed garlic and cook for a few moments, then stir in a tin of tomatoes (a good brand please, like Cirio), and about 12 or so stoned green olives with a tablespoon of rinsed capers.  Now add salt, pepper and a tablespoon of good wine vinegar.  Simmer gently for half an hour until the aubergine is tender and creamy but not mushy.  Allow to cool to tepid, stir in lots of chopped parsley and a spoonful of your very best olive oil, and eat with crusty bread.  This will serve four people generously with some other mezze.  I made some hummus tonight, and some totally geographically inappropriate guacamole, which actually went really well with all the other flavours. 

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