Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Incredible Sicilian Aubergine Stew

A few nights ago I had some friends over to meet my father who is visiting from India. I decided to prepare various Italian tapas, inspired by Jamie's Italy, the latest cookbook from celebrity chef Jamie Oliver. I was excited to make caponata for the first time every - Jamie's description, recipe and photo of the "incredible Sicilian aubergine stew" was too good to pass up.

Jamie says that this is a fantastic dish from southern Italy that's eaten as a warm vegetable side dish or a cold antipasto. You need nice, firm aubergines (eggplant), good tomatoes and a fine vinegar. He warns against cutting the aubergines too small as they will soak up too much oil and become heavy.

for 4 servings you will need:
olive oil
2 nice large purple aubergines, cut into large chunks
1 heaped teaspoon dired oregano
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 small red onion, peeled and finely chopped
2 cloves of garlic, peeled and finely sliced
a small bunch of fresh flat-leaf parsley, leaves picked and stalks finely chopped
2 tablespoons salted capers, rinsed, soaked and drained
a handful of green olives, stones removed
2-3 tablespoons best-quality herb vinegar
5 large ripe tomatoes, roughly chopped
optional: 2 tablespoons slivered almonds, lightly toasted

Get yourself a large pan, pour in a couple of glugs of olive oil, and place on the heat. Add your aubergine chunks and oregano, season with a little salt and toss around so the aubergine is evenly coated by the oil. Cook on a high heat for around 4 to 5 minutes, giving the pan a shake every now and then. When the aubergines are nice and golden on each side, add the onion, garlic and parsley stalks and continue cooking for another couple of minutes. Feel free to add a little more oil to the pan if you feel it's getting too dry. Throw in the drained capers and the olives and drizzle over the herb vinegar (I just used a nice white vinegar). When all the vinegar has evaporated, add the tomatoes and simmer for around 15 minutes or until tender. Taste before serving and season if you need to with salt, pepper and a little more vinegar. Drizzle with some good olive oil and serve sprinkled with the chopped parsley leaves and the almonds if you like.

I doubled this recipe as we had 8 people coming over. I served the caponata cold on lightly toasted bread that had been rubbed with a cut garlic. I must say that this dish was a big hit!


Blogger Nish said...

you are sucha domestic goddess - i wanted to have a few people over for a diwali party - and i hope to make use of my nigel slater 10min dishes book. When are you coming here???

2:07 AM  
Blogger Lulu said...

hi nish,
thanks for the compliments! i've got to get you hooked on the naked chef. i know you'll love him.
hope to be home in a few weeks. will email you details. happy diwali in advance!

5:46 PM  
Blogger Sandeep said...

It came out well for me too. Thanks.
I used aceto balsamo di modena rather than vine winegar, but it tasted good.

11:50 AM  

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