This aubergine recipe is based on a classic Sicilian dish called caponata and contains plenty of Mediterranean vegetables and spices. Give it a go this week and you’ll be forgiven for thinking you’re on holiday!
Taken from The Kitchen Orchard by Natalia Conroy
- 2 tablespoons pine nuts
- at least 1 litre sunflower oil
- 1 aubergine (about 400g), cut into 2cm cubes
- 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 onion, finely diced
- 2 garlic cloves, finely diced
- 1½ tablespoons honey
- 4 large plum tomatoes, blanched in boiling water, then peeled, seeded and roughly diced
- 200g celery, roughly chopped and boiled until soft
- 2 tablespoons fresh finely chopped mint leaves
- 1 tablespoon capers
- 1 tablespoon raisins
Gently toast the pine nuts on a baking sheet in a low oven (about 150ºC/Gas 2) until golden.
Boil some water and pour it over the tomatoes – the skin will start to peel away. After about 30 seconds in the hot water, put the tomatoes into another bowl with ice and water.
Fill the largest pot you have with sunflower oil so that the level of oil reaches one third of the way up the sides. Heat the oil until extremely hot – drop a cube of aubergine in: if it fizzes vigorously, the oil is hot enough. Fry the aubergine in batches and when dark golden on all sides, drain on plenty of kitchen paper. While the aubergines are still hot, sprinkle with 1 tablespoon of the vinegar and some salt.
In a saucepan, heat the olive oil over a medium heat and fry the onions and garlic with the honey. Season with salt and pepper and when they are very soft – about 15 minutes – add the tomato and celery.
Finally, in a large mixing bowl, toss the aubergine with the tomato mixture, remaining vinegar, mint, capers, raisins and pine nuts. Check the seasoning and serve.