This week’s book is my one and only Jamie Oliver, ‘Jamie’s Italy’. Well, actually it’s this week and next week’s book, as I’m off to Edinburgh for a wee break so it will be split across two weeks.
So here’s the first taste: caponata is a Sicilian aubergine stew with a sweet-sour taste. The sourness comes from the addition of vinegar, the sweetness is sometimes enhanced by raisins (although not in Jamie’s version). It’s simple and very good: the aubergines become deliciously soft and creamy, the almonds (sometimes pine nuts are used) add crunch, there are little sweet tomatoes and salty capers, and it all combines into something perfectly well-rounded. I had this for dinner with some couscous, followed up by these kale chips and a glass of sherry. Oh yeah, I know how to live, me.
Caponata Serves 1 as a main course, 2 as a side
1 large aubergine
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/2 onion (preferably red, but I only had brown), chopped
1 clove garlic, thinly sliced
2 tbsp herb vinegar (I used plain red wine vinegar)
3 tomatoes, roughly chopped (I used about 15 teeny plum tomatoes)
small handful parsley, stalks and leaves separated and each chopped
1 tbsp slivered toasted almonds
Chop the aubergine into chunks. Heat a couple of glugs of olive oil in a large pan over a high heat (there should be room for the aubergine in more or less one layer) and fry the aubergine chunks with the oregano and a grinding of salt for around 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the aubergine is golden. Add more oil as needed if it starts to catch on the bottom of the pan.
Add the onion, garlic and parsley stalks and fry for another couple of minutes. Pour in the vinegar and, when it has evaporated, add the tomatoes. Turn down the heat and simmer for 15 minutes. Serve sprinkled with the chopped parsley leaves and almonds.
Adapted from Jamie Oliver’s ‘Jamie’s Italy’.