If you love Italian food you know that some things are so regional that the slightest change could start a family feud. On the other hand, there are dishes that lend themselves to personal touches.
Caponata naturally lends itself to your resourcefulnesa and creativity – it’s perfect for using what’s at hand and seasonal. (Have a look at Peperonata too, if you want simple dishes that encourage inventiveness). Instead of cooking it as a stew, I prefer a Caponata Antipasto with lightly cooked ingredients, this helps the vegetables retain their vibrant colours and textures.
As regional variations are common with many classic Italian dishes, consider the ingredients list as a guide or starting point. Feel free to adapt the ingredients to what is readily available and your individual preference.
Quick and easy to make, keep a jar in the fridge. Serve with crusty fresh bread, on crostini, for a plant-powered lunch or heat any leftovers for brunch wedge of crispy baked polenta or serve as a side with your supper.
- 1 large Aubergine or 2 small ones – cubed
- 2-3 tbsp olive oil or vegetable stock for an oil-free dish
- 1 red onion – finely sliced
- 2 zucchini (courgette) – sliced
- 1 red capsicum (peppers) – de-seed and cut into strips
- 4-5 medium tomatoes – diced
- 3 cloves garlic – chop or grate
- 1 stem celery – sliced or diced
- 2 tbsp capers or homemade nasturtium capers
- 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar or your favourite vinegar
- 12 Olives – green or black, pitted and halved
- sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- basil leaves to serve
Wash and prepare all the vegetables.
Optional – char grill zucchini slices.
Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a heavy-based pot and cook the aubergine with a sprinkle of sea salt for 5 minutes.
If the pot base is dry add a little olive oil before adding the celery, onion and garlic then sauté until softened.
Add the strips of red capsicum, diced tomatoes, zucchini and vinegar, simmer until the vegetables are just tender before stirring the olives and capers through the caponata.
Season with salt and pepper, taste and adjust to suit.
Optional – Garnish with plant-based parmesan or basil leaves to serve.
Caponata Antipasto will keep for up to 5 days in the fridge