This dish can be an antipasto served with fresh bread, can be an accompaniment for a meat dish, can be served as bruschetta…. Can be eaten at anytime.
Like the traditional caponata but with the variation of sultanas and almonds
1 medium onions, sliced lenghwise
3 red capsicums, cleaned and cut into strips
4 firm medium eggplant in cubes, covered with salt for 1 hour, then washed and dried
1 celery stick, diced
Celery leaves, chopped finely
2 garlic crushed
300ml of extra virgin oil
1 teaspoon of tomato paste
1/2 cup red vinegar, home made or use 2 spoons of commercial one.
1 cup green olives
¼ cup salted capers ,rinsed then leave in water for 30 minutes, then rinse under fresh water once again
Sugar – approximately 4 spoons
Handful of toasted almonds
50g of uva passa – small raisins
Handful of basil, torned or cut with scizzors
6 mint leaves, chopped
The secret of caponata is that all vegetables have to be cooked separately. The flavours here are so important and need to be developed at their own time, without overpowering each other. So the capiscums are cooked separately, the eggplants have to be rested with salt , then washed , dried with a cloth and cooked.
Off course the garlic and the onions will define the tomato sauce. For this recipe you will have the sultanas, the almonds as an extra touch( this recipe is not the classical caponata) and off course the sugar to give the sweet and sour flavor of any type of caponata a must.
Place the oil in a frying pan and once hot add the capiscums. Let it cook for few minutes until you see they have softened a little and their skin started to darken. Remove the capiscums from the heat and place it on a dish.
Wash the eggplants eliminating all the salt and dry it with kitchen paper.
Place the oil in a frying pan and once hot add the eggplants.Cook for about 5 minutes or until you see they are quite cooked but still firm to the bite.
Blanch the celery in salted water for 5 minutes. Drain it and dry it.
Place some oil in a frying pan and add the celery, their leaves and sautee now for a further 3 minutes.
Place the onions inside of a frying pan and add 2 spoons of extra virgin olive oil. Sautee for 5 minutes on a low heat stirring so the onion does not burn.
Add now the garlic, the tomato paste and let it cook for 2 minutes or so.
Transfer the eggplants, the celery, the capiscums, the green olives, the capers, the raisins, the toasted almonds, the vinegar, sugar to the tomato mixture and let it cook simmering for 10 minutes. If you see it is drying add a little water.
Once ready, add the chopped mint leaves and torned basil and serve with plenty country bread.
Serve warm or at room temperature.