Caponata (Sweet and Sour Aubergine (Eggplant) Stew)

Slightly adapted from a recipe posted in rec.food.cooking by Sheldon, found at Epicurious, originally from the July 1991 issue of Gourmet magazine. I've made this quite a few times now, and it's becoming one of my favourite recipes. There's more oil in this than in most of my recipes, but it makes it taste nice. There's a very similar recipe for Caponata in Elizabeth David's Italian Food, taken from Edmond Richardin's L'Art du Bien Manger (1913), so I suppose this is probably quite authentic. That version is a Sicilian dish.

Serves 4-6

1. Cook the aubergine in 2 Tbsp of the olive oil over moderately high heat. The best way I've found to do this is to heat 1 Tbsp oil in a heavy frying pan, add the aubergine and mix well, then drizzle over another 1 Tbsp oil and mix again. This helps stop the cubes on the bottom from absorbing all the oil. Cook, stirring often, until done - I like my aubergine very soft, so I give it 15-20 minutes. When done, transfer to a bowl.

2. Add the remaining 1 Tbsp oil to the frying pan, tip in the onion and celery, and cook, stirring, for about 5 minutes over moderate heat or until the onion is fairly soft but not coloured.

3. Add the olives, capers, vinegar, sugar, raisins, pine nuts (if using), and tomatoes and cook the mixture, stirring occasionally, for 5-10 minutes, or until it is cooked through and the celery is tender. Cook it covered if using fresh tomatoes, and uncovered if using canned, since they have more juice.

4. Add the tomato mixture to the bowl. Add the parsley and mix well. Cool and chill overnight, then season with salt and black pepper.


Kake's (Vegan) Cookery Site - http://www.earth.li/~kake/cookery/
This page added 10 Jun 2000 - comments and questions to Kake L Pugh (kake@earth.li).