‘Caponata Siciliana’ – Food Photography
This Sicilian dish has a sweet-sour flavour – a legacy of ancient Roman days when sweet dates were used instead of tomatoes and sugar.
I medium eggplant
1/3 cup of olive oil (I use a medium classic olive oil, not virgin olive oil – it is too strong & overpowering)
2 stalks of celery thinly sliced (I used medium thickness, not tough thick celery sticks)
1 onion thinly sliced (brown, or red Spanish onion, not strong white onion)
2 tomatoes, peeled and chopped (plunge the tomato in boiling water for a while which enables you to easily peel it)
1 Tablespoon drained capers
2 teaspoons pine nuts
5 black olives halved & stoned (I used 7 Kalamata pitted olives from the local market deli)
1 Tablespoon sugar (white sugar)
2 Tablespoons wine vinegar (I used an Italian white wine vinegar which is what I happened to have)
salt & freshly ground pepper (if desired) – I find there’s a remnant of salt from salting the raw eggplant cubes to remove the bitter juices that is more than enough salt)
Cut the eggplant into small cubes, sprinkle with salt and leave to drain for 30 minutes. Heat half the oil in a deep-frying pan and fry the cubes a few at a time until browned and soft. adding a little more oil as necessary.
Return all the cooked eggplant to the pan with the celery, onion and tomatoes. Simmer for 15-20 minutes and then add the capers, pine nuts and olives. Stir the sugar in the vinegar until dissolved and add to the pan. Season with salt and pepper and simmer very gently for a further 15 minutes.
Taste and add a little more vinegar if necessary (I didn’t).
Cool and leave for several more hours for the flavours to develop fully.
Serve the Caponata cold with Italian Bread for spreading. Or put a generous dollop on a slice of Baguette.
You can use toasted slices of Baguette or serve in a dish as part of an antipasto platter (as long as you serve some bread with it). I overcooked mine a bit as I got distracted reading emails on the computer and forgot about it (as usual). It’s definitely easy to make, but I like mine chilled overnight in the fridge and then brought out the next day to come back to room temperature (before serving).
P.S. I walked down to the French Patisserie this afternoon to buy some suitable bread to take a quick photo of a serving suggestion. Hope some of you try this recipe – its scrumptious.