Caponata is a Sicilian aubergine stew with countless variations. There is supposedly some rivalry over which families and towns in Sicily make the best and recipes vary greatly from place to place.
You can mess with the recipe quantities to your taste, there are countless ways to make it, but the essential elements you should keep are aubergine, tomato and the sweetness that comes either from sugar or red wine/balsamic vinegar. It’s a sweet and slightly sour tomato based stew and it’s divine. Depending on where you are in Sicily, you’ll see capers, raisins, pine nuts and celery thrown in too. It’s a more the merrier type situation in my eyes.
You will need:
1 x aubergine
2 x cans plum tomatoes
2 x sticks celery
1 x handful fresh basil
1 x handful toasted pine nuts
1 x handful capers (soak in water if they’re salted)
1 x handful raisins
a splash of red wine vinegar (can also use balsamic)
Cut the aubergine into 2cm cubes and fry it. When they’re cooked, after about 15/20 mins, add the plum tomatoes and break up a bit if need be. Add everything else and put the lid on, cooking for about 40 mins.
The key with caponata is not to stir it too much, you don’t want it to get mushy. Just let it do it’s thing and add more vinegar or sugar to taste. It’s a dish best served cold believe it or not, so it’s lunchbox friendly.