How To Cook Caponata
How To Cook Caponata
Caponata is a healthy vegetarian dish which tastes both sour and sweet because of its Sicilian ingredients. It is basically a Sicily dish and is very tasty.
I'm going to make caponato which is a traditional Sicilian dish, which has a sweet and savoury flavour. We start by heating some olive oil, about a tablespoon of olive oil is plenty and then, add to that a diced onion. It is really important for any dish such as this that you cook your onions really well and they become soft nice and caramelised.
That would take about ten to fifteen minutes of just gentle frying, and you need to check that your onions don't burn. I like to fry the onions on quite a high heat, you can do it slowly on a low heat if you prefer. So, the onions are nicely soft now, they are caramelized and I am going to add onto that some garlic which is just roughly crushed and you can add as much little garlic as you want, you can add celery if you like, you can add a little bit of tomato puree if you like and just cook that down, just to take the raw taste of tomato puree out.
This point, I am going to lower my temperature just a little bit so that I don't burn the tomato puree and I am going to add aubergines chopped into a dice. I like chopped aubergines into a triangle shape so that each piece of aubergine has the skin still intact. If you chop into square, you find that the middle of the aubergine is just flesh and turns to be little bit bitter and also become little bit spongy while cooking.
So, I am going to stir that for about two to three minutes, just to start the aubergine cooking and I am also going to add a courgette. You can roast this also in oven if you like, if you prefer to roast things. So, I am just aiming to get these vegetables slightly brown and get the garlic and onion flavour running through.
Into this, I am going to put some chopped tomatoes. If you have got some lovely fresh ripe tomatoes, then use fresh; if it is the winter, just use tinned. These are peeled and chopped, take most of the seeds out just because don't need the texture of seeds in that.
Stir that around. Okay, to that, we are also going to add some capers, these are the capers that come in Brian vinegar rather than the salted capers which is probably a little bit salty for this dish. That gives the dish a savoury sour element.
I am also going to add some green olives which would do the same. To get some sweetness, we are going to add a little bit of sugar and you can use any type of sugar here. The darker the sugar, the more caramel the taste would be.
And just as another flavour, to bring all those flavour together, I am going to add red wine vinegar. Pop that in and this dish would happily simmer now for ten to fifteen minutes, just bringing all the flavours together, softening the vegetables and then it is really important, once the vegetables are cooked, you start to taste this dish. You want to balance the sourness of the vinegar and the olives with the sweetness of the tomatoes and the sugar.
You may need to adjust any of these flavours as it cooks. I am going to season it well with salt and pepper at the end of cooking. So, we season to taste rather than adding too much salt.
The capers and olives tend to have salt already. So, the caponato is cooking now for about twenty minutes, vegetables are nice and soft, the aubergines is not looking raw anymore and all the flavours are starting to come together. I am going to give it a quick taste and to me, it needs salt and pepper but actually, the sweet and sour flavour is fine today.
If you find it a little bit too sharp, we need to add a little bit of sugar. If you find it a little bit too sweet, then add a bit more vinegar. Nice good freshly ground pepper and I usually finish this dish with just a nice swirl of extra virgin olive oil.
So, you can really taste the really olive flavour and I am just going to chop some fresh herbs to go into the dish and pop some herbs on top to finish it and I got parsley and basil here for flavour. Stir it and the flavour develop with time. So, it is something that would last for a good coupl