Sicilian Eggplant Caponata
Caponata, a Montalbano Favourite
I've fallen a little in love with eggplants. And maybe a little in love with Inspector Montalbano too. The books and TV episodes aren't just smart and witty detective mysteries, they're also a tribute to the glories of Sicilian food.
You can serve Caponata in so many ways
And so we come to the eggplant, or aubergine, or melanzana, and a dish which is waiting for Montalbano when he comes home for lunch.
Caponata. It's somewhere between a salad and a stew.
You can pile caponata on top of fresh crusty bread for a perfect lunch. Use more liquid and pour it as a sauce over pasta for a hearty vegetarian dinner, or on its own in a bowl with bread to dip on the side.
Montalbano enjoys a light lunch of caponata with an artichoke/spinach pistaccio
Back in the house, he opened the refrigerator. Adelina must have come down with an acute form of vegetarianism. Caponata and a sublime pasticcio of artichokes and spinach. He set the table on the veranda and wolfed down the caponata as the pasticcio was heating up. Then he reveled in the pasticcio.
Eggplants or Aubergines
How to Prepare the Eggplants
You can steam eggplants, or eat them fried, stir-fried, boiled, sauteed or cooked in the microwave. If you're feeling creative, stuff them. I like to bake mine.
Like its cousin, the tomato, the eggplant has edible thin skin, so peeling is your choice. If you leave the skin on, you add colour and interest. Peeling off the skin gives you a smoother texture.
To avoid any hint of a bitter taste, slice, salt and then rinse. Eggplants can soak up large amounts of cooking fats and oils but the salting process will reduce the amount absorbed.
To salt an eggplant, peel it (optional) and then slice, dice or quarter.
Sprinkle the pieces with salt and let them sit in a colander for an hour.
Rinse the eggplant in plenty of water to remove the salt, firmly squeezing a few pieces at a time in the palm of your hand.
Pat the eggplant dry with paper towels. You have to dry as thoroughly as possible
The Egg(plant) and I
For most of my life I avoided eggplants.
From my childhood years I knew which vegetables couldn't be trusted. I made such a ruckus when confronted with certain vegetables on my plate that my mother, wearily, gave up the battle. Mind you, no one could have called her an expert on cooking vegetables, she had only two methods - boil or bake.
So it wasn't until childhood was well behind me that I discovered such delights as pumpkin and parsnips.
Now I enjoy so many delectable vegetables dishes, I wonder how I ever managed without them. If only my mother could see me now! Come dinnertime, my plate is always heaped with vegetables, glorious vegetables, and one of the most glorious is the eggplant.
Caponata Recipe - Ingredients
- 2 -3 medium Eggplants
- - peeled sliced and salted
- 1 -2 medium onions - diced
- 1.2 cup chopped celery
- 6 -8 ripe Roma tomatoes or 1 can of diced tomatoes
- I cup green olives - pitted and sliced
- 2 TBsp red wine vinegar
- 1 TBsp sugar
- A cup of torn flat-leaved parsley
- A little olive oil
- Freshly ground black pepper to taste
|Serving size: 1 serve|
|Calories from Fat||126|
|% Daily Value *|
|Fat 14 g||22%|
|Saturated fat 2 g||10%|
|Carbohydrates 16 g||5%|
|Sugar 8 g|
|Fiber 4 g||16%|
|Protein 2 g||4%|
|Cholesterol 0 mg|
|Sodium 820 mg||34%|
|* The Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet, so your values may change depending on your calorie needs. The values here may not be 100% accurate because the recipes have not been professionally evaluated nor have they been evaluated by the U.S. FDA.|
- Take your salted and dried eggplant slices and chop them into wedges.
- Lightly mix the wedges together with a little olive oil until each eggplant piece is lightly coated.
- Put the wedges on a lined baking tray and cook in a moderate oven for 15- 20 minutes until tender and wilted. I've found that eggplants won't work if they're undercooked, they must be cooked through until soft, smooth, and creamy.
- In a pan or saucepan, saute the onion and celery until the onion is clear.
- Add the tomatoes and saute for about 10 minutes.
- Dissolve the sugar in the vinegar and pour it into the pan. Stir and simmer for 10 minutes.
- Add the eggplant wedges and the olives. Stir though on low heat for another 5 minutes. Stir the parsley through.
Serve your Caponata on these Cheeful Pasta Plates
Bright and Beautiful Bowls for the finishing touch to your Sicilian Caponata
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A colourful stylish set of serving plate and four matching bowls. with coordinating kitchen accessories. Microwave and dishwasher safe.
I love Inspector Montalbano
I have a passion for a handful of fictional detectives. Salvo Montalbano is one of them.I love the Sicilian food too.
Montalbano always has a nice long lunch and whether his food is prepared at home by his housekeeper, Adelina, or enjoyed in restaurants, the meals are frequent, large and lavish
© 2010 Susanna Duffy