Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Caponata (Sicilian Eggplant Stew)

Since my mum started growing eggplants & doesn’t really use that many herself, I am always on the lookout for new ways to cook them. This is a lovely recipe from Jamie Oliver’s Italy, he says it can be eaten as a cold starter or a warm side, we served it along side some meat & mash. I also tried out the leftovers from the fridge cold as suggested but I think the lovely warm wintery flavours are lost & I will continue to heat it up to eat nice & hot. The eggplant is lovely & creamy & as always the tomatoes are lovely with it. The olives, capers & vinegar all blend in nicely to give it a slightly sour flavour which is nice for something a bit different.

Caponata (Sicilian Eggplant Stew)

Olive oil
2 nice large purple eggplants, cut into large chunks
1 heaped teaspoon dried oregano
sea salt & freshly ground black pepper
1 small red onion, peeled & finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, peeled & finely sliced
a small bunch of fresh flat leaf parsley, leaves picked & stalks finely chopped
2 tablespoons salted capers, rinsed, soaked & drained
a handful of green olives, stones removed
2-3 tablespoons herb vinegar
5 large ripe tomatoes, roughly chopped
optional: 2 tablespoons slivered almonds, lightly toasted

In a large frying pan, pour in a couple of glugs of olive oil & place over heat. Add the eggplant & oregano, season with a little salt & toss around so the eggplant is evenly coated with oil. Cook on high heat for about 4-5 minutes, giving the pan a shake every now & then. When the eggplant is nice & golden all over, add the onion, garlic & parsley stalks & continue cooking for another couple of minutes. Feel free to add a little more oil to the pan if it’s getting too dry. Throw in the drained capers and the olives & drizzle over the vinegar. When all the vinegar has evaporated, add the tomatoes & simmer for about 15 minutes or until tender. Taste before serving & season if needed with salt & pepper & a little more vinegar. Drizzle with some good olive oil & serve sprinkled with the chopped parsley leaves & almonds if you like.

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