There are many caponata recipes out there but this one drew my undivided attention and I wanted to taste it, so I made it. I used anchovies as directed in the recipe and so everybody in my house politely declined to eat the caponata. They claim anchovies have this horrible fishy smell but frankly speaking, I didn’t taste anything fishy by the time it was ready for eating. Anyway as this recipe is supposed to serve 4-6 people you can imagine my dilemma. First I grilled some slices of bread with olive oil and heaped them with lots of caponata and that was my breakfast, yesterday. Lunch time, I had some alongside my plate of Romano Bean Rice. Last night I had it with some fresh ricotta cheese. Thankfully I’ve gone through 5 servings and now I have only one more serving to go (LOL). Next time I shall half this recipe since my numerous attempts to cajole and convince others to eat fell on deaf ears. I wish you a lovely day and if you don’t care much for anchovies just omit them.
Please assemble ingredients before you start
sauté the celery, anchovies, capers and olives in oil for a few minutes then set aside.
To make tomato sauce: heat the tomato passata with the sugar and simmer, uncovered, until well reduced and darker in colour. Add the vinegar and continue simmering for another 5-8 minutes.
Season with salt and pepper, add chopped parsley and remove from heat.
Mix all the other ingredients in a bowl
add the sauce and mix thoroughly to combine. Allow to cool and serve.
- 200g (3 celery stalks (stems), sliced into 1cm cubes (remove the tough outer strings if present)
- 500g (1 Ib) eggplant (aubergines), diced into 2cm cubes
- 1 cup vegetable oil for deep frying
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 medium white onion, moon-sliced
- 25g (1½ tablespoons, 1oz) capers, finely chopped
- 2 desalted anchovies, finely chopped
- 60g (2oz, ½ cup) black olives, sliced
- 180ml (¾ cup) good quality Italian tomato passata (or puree)
- 30g (2 tablespoons) sugar or honey
- 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- A bunch, finely choppped chopped parsley
- Plunge the celery in lightly salted boiling water, then let simmer gently, 5-7 minutes, until crisp-tender then drain and place on an absorbent paper towel.
- In a medium sized pot, heat 2cm (3/4 inch) vegetable oil and fry the eggplant in batches, turning occasionally, until browned on all sides. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on a plate lined with paper towels. Season with salt.
- Brown the onions in olive oil, drain and set aside. In the same pan, sauté the celery, anchovies, capers and olives in olive oil for a few minutes then set aside.
- To make tomato sauce: heat the tomato passata with the sugar and simmer, uncovered, until well reduced and darker in colour. Add the vinegar and continue simmering for another 5-8 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, add chopped parsley and remove from heat.
- Mix all the other ingredients in a bowl, add the sauce and mix thoroughly to combine. Allow to cool and serve.
- You can keep the caponata in the fridge and let the flavours meld and serve it the next day. It tastes so much better, the next day!