Sweet 'n' sour Sicilian classic: Eggplant Caponata
Caponata is a Sicilian eggplant stew and a delicious example of the agrodolce sweet and sour flavors typical of the island. It is traditionally used as a side dish for fish, but it also makes a great vegetarian main course. You can even serve it as an appetizer with some good, crusty bread or bruschetta.
If you're cooking caponata, keep one thing in mind: you can never have too much of this tasty stuff. You can make it days or even a week ahead, keep it in the refrigerator and serve - hot or cold - whenever you're in for a treat.
Ingredients (serves 4)
- 2 eggplants
- 2 tbsp peanut oil
- 1 onion (cut into rings)
- 2 sticks of celery (finely chopped)
- 1 clove of garlic
- 6 peeled, deseeded tomatoes (or 14 oz can of tomatoes)
- 1 tbsp brown sugar
- 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- ½ cup raisins
- 2 tbsp capers
- 1.8 oz green olives (finely chopped)
- 1 bunch flat-leaf parsley
- 1 bunch fresh mint
- salt and pepper
Cut the eggplants into 1 inch cubes. Sprinkle with salt and allow the salt to absorb the moisture from the eggplants for around 30 minutes. Rinse the eggplants and pat dry with paper towel.
Heat 1 tablespoon of peanut oil in a pan. Sauté the onion, celery and garlic until transparent. Add the coarsely chopped tomatoes and allow to reduce for 5 minutes. Now add the sugar, balsamic vinegar, raisins, capers and olives. Simmer for another 5 minutes.
In a second pan, heat 1 tablespoon of peanut oil and fry the cubed eggplant for 5 minutes until golden. Add the eggplant to the tomato sauce and bring back to a simmer. Season with salt and pepper. Just before serving, mix the coarsely chopped flat-leaf parsley and mint into the caponata.