All things Italian with Aubergine Caponata

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About a year ago my husband and I went to Italy and fulfilled a lifelong dream of mine.  Our home base was Florence, where we walked by the Duomo everyday and other incredibly beautiful churches, the Palazza Vecchio, the Ponte Vecchio, unending gorgeous architecture and of course the Uffizi and the Accademia where all that jaw dropping Renaissance art is yours’ for the gazing.  We did a day trip to Pisa to check out the Leaning Tower and the other mind blowing buildings on the that site, the Cathedral and the Baptistry, my life changed forever.  Since then I have been an Italian junkie, salivating over all things Italian, food or otherwise.  I find myself watching shows that are in Italian even though I understand very little of what is being said, I am wallowing in Italian and I can’t seem to help myself.   It was while watching a network devoted mostly to Italian programming that I came upon this dish.  This particular show happened to be in English so I knew exactly what  ingredients were going into this little number and as my mouth started to water I knew it wouldn’t be long before this would be hitting the Goddard dinner table.

Aubergine Caponata:  serves 4-6

olive oil, you will need quite a bit of this

2 large eggplant (aubergines) cut into 1 inch cubes

3 stalks of celery, strings removed, blanched for 1 minute in boiling salted water, run under cold water and wiped dry.  Finely sliced

1 large onion chopped

1/2 cup pitted green olives roughy chopped  (buy with pit in they taste so much better, to remove the pit squash with the back of your knife and tear apart

1/4 cup of capers drained

1 cup of passata (tomatoe puree about the consistency of the juice you get from canned whole tomatoes))

1 tbsp. of sugar

5 tbsp. of white wine vinegar

salt and pepper

chopped flat leaf parsley for garnish

In a frying pan, heat about 4 -6 tbsp. of olive oil over med. high heat, fry eggplant one layer at a time, (do not crowd pan) until golden on all sides, remove to paper towel to absorb oil.  Add more oil for next batch of eggplant if needed and continue until all eggplant is browned.  Sprinkle with salt.

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In same pan add more olive oil, brown onion and celery until golden brown, add capers, olives, passata, sugar and vinegar.  Season with pepper and salt (go easy on the salt, as the capers, and olives will be salty).

Gently add in eggplant and cook over med. heat for about 5 minutes.  Spoon into serving bowl and allow to cool a little, garnish with fresh parsley  (I didn’t have any today, so it’s not as pretty as it could have been.)  Serve with boiled eggs and bread.  Bellisimo!

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