If I was to write a recipe book then I think I could fill it with aubergine recipes. Aubergine is such a versatile vegetable. There are so many ways to marinate and cook it to produce different flavour combinations. If I had to choose just one aubergine dish to nominate as my favourite it would be a fight between caponata and parmigiana. You can find the parmigiana here but today it’s the turn of caponata.
Caponata is one of those brilliant dishes that seems to taste even better on the second day. The flavours marinate together beautifully overnight. It is a Sicilian dish, although I can’t confirm the authenticity of this recipe.
Whilst we’re talking Sicily, I'm a huge fan of fictional Sicilian detective Montalbano - both the TV series and the books. I love that Montalbano's obsession with food is as central to the stories as the crimes themselves. Whenever I have caponata it always conjures up images of the Inspector rooting through his fridge to discover the delights left for him by his housekeeper, Adelina.
So that was me this evening, arriving home from work tired and hungry and discovering with delight that I had leftover caponata to tuck into. Just missing the Sicilian sunshine 😎 - salute Salvo 🍷
Gently fry the aubergines in a little olive oil for 4 – 5 minutes until they begin to soften and brown on the outside. Add the celery and peppers and cook for a further five minutes.
Now add the tinned tomatoes, sultanas, red wine vinegar and honey. Turn the heat to a simmer and cook for a further 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Stir in the capers, pine nuts and basil and warm through. Season to serve.
This keeps really well in the fridge for 3 – 4 days. If anything the taste improves after 24 hours in the fridge as the flavours continue to combine.
The caponata tastes great on its own or with a large hunk of garlic bread and a glass of red wine as a vegetarian main meal. It also goes really well served hot with white, flat fish such as sea bream or sea bass.
If there is any left then another option is cold with chicken – the combination of vinegar and honey mean it takes on almost a chutney like taste.
For a vegan version you could replace the honey with a similar quantity of unrefined caster sugar.
I'm Kim Adams, founder of SAVI Nutrition. A Registered Nutritional Therapist who is passionate about healthy, tasty food. Here I share with you my thoughts on food and health alongside a few of my favourite recipes.