I recently acquired Mary Berry’s Love to Cook – a beautiful book, with delicious and no nonsense recipes written with Mary’s trademark common sense.
I also recommend from this book Mary’s Victoria Sponge Sandwich – it is gorgeous and a doddle to make!
But this post is all about Caponata, a Sicilian vegetable dish based on eggplant – well that’s what we call them in Australia – Mary of course refers to them as aubergines.
A simple dish that takes about half an hour to make on the stove top.
I wouldn’t presume to alter Mary’s recipe, so here it is. However I did make a half size version in the photos, as I was cooking for one – me! But this size would do two easily.
I also used green olives rather than black, as I prefer them.
Quantities below are for the full size recipe.
8 tablespoons olive oil
2 aubergines (eggplants) cut into 2cm cubes,
2 onions, finely chopped
2 celery sticks, finely chopped
1 red pepper, deseeded and cut into 1 cm cubes
3 large garlic cloves, crushed
100g pitted black (or green) olives
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
3 tablespoons capers
3 tablespoons chopped parsley
1½ tablespoons caster sugar
Heat 3 tablespoons of the oil in a large frying pan over a high heat. Add half of the aubergine cubes and fry until browned. Remove the aubergine from the pan and set aside. Heat another 3 tablespoons of the oil and fry the remaining aubergine. Set aside with the rest.
Heat the remaining oil in the pan. Add the onions, celery and pepper and fry over a high heat for 3–4 minutes. Add the garlic and fry for a few seconds. Return the aubergine to the pan, add the passata, olives, vinegar, capers and sugar. Season with salt and black pepper, cover with a lid and bring up to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer gently for 20–25 minutes. Remove the lid and simmer for another 5 minutes, until the sauce has reduced and the vegetables are soft but not mushy.
Sprinkle with parsley and serve with crusty bread, couscous or as a vegetable side dish.