k Sweet & Sour Aubergine Salad (Mezze) k
Who doesn’t adore Caponata? The classic Sicilian sweet and sour aubergine stew, it’s the taste of the Mediterranean in every mouthful. My recipe is slightly different, you could say it has a middle eastern twist. What will make this dish stand out is the quality of the aubergines, tomatoes and vinegar.
I opted for beautiful baby aubergines and pretty striped rose aubergines which both tend to have more tender skins and less seeds which give the end result a much creamier texture and flavour. Also you get a lovely contrast of colours. The dish should be tart and sweet but not too much of either. Here the sweetness comes from the gorgeous sun drenched prunes and local honey while the pomegranate molasses, red wine vinegar and lemon juice deliver the all-important sour punch. Make sure you don’t cut the aubergines too small as they sponge up the olive oil and you want them to be deliciously soft, not mushy and heavy.
It must be eaten at room temperature or cold, it makes a divine mezze/tapas/antipasto or simply a relish to accompany Jamon Iberico, grilled fish or chicken. Or even better, slather it over toasted pita and drizzle with tahini. It totally benefits from a good 24 hours in the fridge and a good handful of fresh chopped parsley and sea salt to serve.
6 baby aubergines (or 2 large) cut into 1-inch chunks
80ml olive oil
1 red onion finely chopped
6 prunes stoned and chopped
1 large ripe tomato, chopped
1 tablespoon pomegranate molasses
Juice half lemon
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
60ml hot water
1 tablespoon of local honey
Handful fresh chopped parsley
Pinch sea salt
- Heat the olive oil in a large pan and fry the aubergines (you will need to do this in batches so you don’t want to overcrowd the pan). Cook until light golden brown.
- Add a bit more oil and cook the onions until transparent not brown, add the prunes and chopped tomatoes.
- Mix the pomegranate molasses, hot water, honey, lemon juice and red wine vinegar and add to the aubergine mix.
- Gently simmer for at least 20 minutes until well reduced and the aubergines are lovely and meltingly tender.
- Serve at room temperature and sprinkle with plenty of fresh chopped parsley. This dish is even better the next day.