Tuesday, November 20, 2012
Ingredients for Caponata
We couldn’t let summer go out the door without showing you Sicily’s most famous recipe which is a side dish and should be eaten with lots of fresh Italian bread. There are probably a lot of Sicilian ladies out there who prepare it in many other different ways but ours is a proven recipe and whoever tastes it says it is excellent.
2 Celery sticks
20 grams Capers
15 Green Olives
200 grams Tomato Sauce
2 teaspoons Sugar
7 dessertspoons Vinegar
Salt and Pepper
Preparation of the sauce:
Chop one large onion into regular slices and fry in olive oil until soft and turning golden brown. Make the tomato sauce or buy the ready-made one. Chop a couple of celery sticks into bite size bits and cook in boiling water until tender but not overcooked. When the celery is cooked, before draining, add about 20 grams of pre-soaked capers (ok if you are preparing not more than 4 meedium size aubergines) and about 15 green olives which have been de-stoned and cut into round washer shapes. Leave them to soak with the celery for 5 minutes in the hot water and then drain. Add to the fried onion. Reheat in a saucepan the fried onion, celery, capers and olives together and add the tomato sauce and once all the flavours have amalgamated and you have cooked the sauce for about 15 minutes, turn the heat off. This now is your basic sauce for the aubergines.
In a large frying pan, fry the aubergines which have been cut first into slices and then into cubes (see our other recipe for Pasta with Tuna Fish and Aubergines http://www.sicilianexperience.com/share/?p=501). Fry them in plenty of olive oil until they are golden brown on all sides. Drain them on kitchen paper. You might have to fry two or three batches. Don’t try and put too many aubergine cubes in all together. Just enough to evenly cover the bottom of the frying pan.
Re-use your large frying pan once you have poured off any excess oil (you don’t have to wash it!) and pour in the tomato sauce over a low heat, adding the fried aubergines. Turn the aubergines into the sauce gently.
The last two ingredients of vinegar (only use wine vinegar) and sugar are the most difficult to calculate. For this quantity of aubergines we put two heaped teaspoons of sugar into a glass and add about five dessertspoons of vinegar and stir until the sugar dissolves. A lot depends on the strength of the vinegar as to how strong tasting it will be. If you know that your vinegar is strong, then reduce by a few spoons. This liquid is then poured over the aubergine sauce which is still simmering over a low heat. Gently turn the sauce and allow the vinegar fumes to evaporate for about a minute and then turn the heat off.
This dish should always be eaten cold, never hot, with plenty of fresh bread. If you refrigerate, remove it at least half an hour before eating it.
Caponata - end result!
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