You look in the fridge and the only likely thing there is an aubergine, that you bought on a whim, because it was reduced in price.
You quickly Google aubergine recipes and the one that stands out is Caponata – Sicilian aubergine stew. Checking the recipes on Google you see that there are so many different versions of it that you turn to your trusty ‘Secrets from an Italian kitchen‘ and realise that you have most of the ingredients that you need!
Caponata is typically used as a side dish for fish dishes and sometimes as an appetizer, but can also be a main course. It’s often served with crusty bread and boiled eggs (?!), but I served mine with pasta.
This is pretty faithful to the book, although that recipe called for sugar which I omitted and I slightly changed the order of things (as I tend to do!).
Caponata (Aubergine stew)
- 1 medium Aubergine
- 1 tsp capers (drained and rinsed)
- 1 stick Celery
- olive oil
- 1 Onion
- 1 230g can Chopped tomatoes
- 1 tbsp wine vinegar (red or white)
- 2 tsp pine kernels
- 2 tsp Sultanas
- 1 small handful Green pitted olives (chopped)
- basil leaves (to garnish - optional)
- Place the sultanas in a small bowl and cover with warm water and leave to soak
- Cut the aubergine in to small chunks about 1 inch thick
- Cut the celery in to thin slices and then heat a large frying pan and add some olive oil and fry the celery slices until golden, but still crunchy. Remove from pan and set aside
- In the same oil (you might need to add more) fry the aubergine until soft. Remove from pan and set aside
- Add some more oil and cook the onion until starting to brown, then add the vinegar and heat until it has all evaporated
- Add the chopped tomatoes and simmer for 3 minutes before adding the pine kernels, capers and drained sultanas.
- Return the aubergine and the celery to the pan along with the green olives and mix gently and heat through adding salt and pepper to season.
- Serve with pasta of choice and garnish with basil leaves if you have them