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Caponata (V)


A very versatile dish that can be served piping hot or at room temperature. It's one of those wonderful dishes that develops more flavour as you leave it, so I usually make it the day before, leave it in the fridge overnight and bring it to room temperature before serving.


Serves 6 as a starter


2 medium aubergines

4 large ripe plum tomatoes

4 cloves of garlic

2 red onions

2 tbsps capers, rinsed and drained

a small bunch of basil

a pinch of sugar

a splash of red wine vinegar

a splash of red wine

olive oil


Heat an overhead grill to very hot. Slice the aubergines into rounds about 1cm thick, brush with olive oil and grill until golden brown and tender, turning once - about 6 minutes each side. When done, leave to cool and cut into large dice.


Whilst the aubergines are cooking, heat some olive oil in a pan, peel and chop the onions roughly and fry without colouring over a medium heat until soft and sweet.


Heat a little more olive oil in a second pan, peel and chop the garlic and fry lightly until just starting to colour. Add the tomatoes, chopped, to the garlic and a splash of red wine. Bring to the boil and simmer for about half an hour until somewhat reduced and the tomatoes have collapsed into a rough sauce. Blend until smooth.


Mix the aubergines, capers, and onions together and add enough of the tomato sauce to bring it all together. You may not need it all. Taste and add vinegar, sugar, pepper and salt as required. Tear over a few basil leaves, and eat immediately with crusty bread or leave to cool and eat later.


Photo by Kelsie Mortimer

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