I love discovering new Italian dishes that I’m told are basic, traditional masterpieces that everyone knows. Unfortunately, I wasn’t born an Italian, so it’s all news to me. This is yet another dish with only one name. And it is amazing. The fusion of flavours makes perfect sense once you make it. But I would never thought of putting them together this way myself. Absolutely stunning served at room temperature as a snack or appetizer.
4 tbsp olive oil
2 celery stalks, sliced
2 red onions, sliced
1 large eggplant, diced
6 small videlia tomatoes, chopped in quarters
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
3 tbsp red wine vinegar
1 tbsp sugar
3 tbsp pitted green olives
2 tbsp capers, drained and rinsed
salt and pepper
4 tbsp chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley (to garnish)
ciabatta or calabrese bread (to serve)
Heat half the oil in a large, heavy-bottom pan. Add the celery and onions and cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes, until softened but not coloured. Add the remaining oil and the eggplant. Cook, stirring frequently, for about 5 mintues, until the eggplant starts to colour.
Add the garlic, tomatoes, vinegar, and sugare, and mix well. Cover the mixture with a circle of wax paper and let simmer gently for about 10 minutes.
Remove the wax paper, stir in the olives and capers, and season to taste with salt and pepper. Pour the caponata into a sering dish and set aside to cool to room temperature.
Just before serving, sprinkle over the parsley to garnish. Serve with bread.
This and other recipes occasionally pop up in the Artichoke Hart series (available here), or the London Cartwright series (available here). Both chefs are fictional… the dishes are not.
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