Caponata, a delicious hot salad of stewed Mediterranean vegetables with eggplant as the star, is surprisingly easy and enjoyable to make.
As a traditional vegetarian dish it is the perfect way to introduce yourself to the concept of Meat Free Monday.
Caponata can be prepared and cooked in advance, refrigerated overnight or frozen and enjoyed afterwards either hot or cold, allowing the flavours to develop.
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The Sicilians say that Caponata is best served after being rested overnight, but we think you might just prefer to eat it straight away while it’s hot and fresh.
As an adaptable recipe, experiment by replacing any ingredients with vegetables you have left over from the previous week in the fridge. Elaine and I have added bell peppers, where you might consider celery or zucchini.
We have also added black olives, you might prefer green or remove them completely and try adding chilli, pine nuts or raisins for a middle eastern twist.
It’s up to you, take the concept and make the recipe your own for a meal that you and your family can enjoy together, knowing it’s packed full of flavour, it’s healthy and sets everyone up for the week ahead.
Make it your own and please let us know in the comments below what you enjoyed and what works for you!
- 1 tbsp olive oil add more during cooking if required
- 1 aubergine diced into 1cm cubes (leave the skin on)
- red onion finely chopped
- 1 garlic clove chopped
- 2 tsp dried oregano or mixed herbs
- 2 tbsp capers
- 400ml can chopped tomatoes
- 2 large fresh tomatoes chopped
- 1/2 bell pepper any colour, diced
- 15 black olives (green if you prefer), chopped
- 1/2 lemon
- Large handful fresh basil
- your choice of crusty bread
- Heat the olive oil in a saucepan, then add the aubergine and red onion to the pan. Season well and fry for 5 minutes.
- Add the fresh tomatoes and bell pepper, then fry for another 5 minutes until the veg starts to soften.
- Add the garlic and oregano and heat for two minutes, then add the capers and tinned tomatoes.
- Fill the empty can about half-way with water and add the water to the pot. Once it begins to boil, reduce the heat and allow to simmer for 10 minutes more, or until you have the consistency you desire.
- Add the olives, saving a few for decoration. Tear most of the basil leaves into the dish and season using juice from the lemon, salt and pepper. Taste, and add more seasoning if required.
- Serve the Caponata in bowls, sprinkling the remaining olives, basil leaves and a few extra capers on top.
- Serve a slice of your favourite bread alongside, and enjoy!