Serves 4-6

800g aubergine
1 large onion, peeled and chopped
3 ripe tomatoes, cut into chunky cubes
1 tbsp tomato purée, diluted with a little water
1 tbsp caster sugar
1 tbsp salted capers, soaked
20 green pitted olives
1 tbsp white wine vinegar
Chopped leaves and stalks of 1 head celery
1 tbsp raisins
Salt and pepper
1 tbsp pine kernels (optional)

Versatile, delicious and easy to make, caponata is probably Siciliy’s best known dish. Throughtout the centuries Siciliy has been invaded and conolonised by many other nations and many Sicilian recipes show influences from other cuisines. here you will see that there are some hints of the french ratatouille, while the inclusion of raisins and pine kernels suggests some Arabic influences too.

Cut the aubergine into 3cm chunks, soak in cold water for 5 minutes, then drain. This will stop the aubergine from absorbing too much oil. Fry the onion in the olive oil in a large pan for a a few minutes to soften. Put the aubergine chunks into the pan and fry until soft and tender, about 10 minutes. Add the tomatoes, diluted tomato purée , sugar, capers, olives, vinegar, celery leaves and stalks, raisins and some salt and pepper and stew lowly until everything is melted together, about 30 minutes. Stir in the pine kernels, if desired, and serve either cold or warm as a side dish, or by itself with bread.

This recipe is from Antonio Carluccio’s Simple Cooking