Caponata

What better way to use up late summer vegetable crops than by making a Caponata… No strict rules here – every Italian Mama has her own personal recipe – you can add black or green olives, or use coarsely chopped almonds if you don’t have pine nuts.  You can serve it on bruschetta, or it can be a quick pasta sauce, or it can be part of a full-blown antipasti selection. 
       2 aubergines
       salt
       olive oil for frying
       1 red + 1 yellow peppers
       2 shallots
       2 stalks of celery
       2 tbsp chopped black or green olives
       2 tbsp raisins
       2 tsp capers
       2 tbsp olive oil
       1 tsp sugar
       1 tbsp vinegar
       1-2 clove(s) of garlic, grated
       2 ripe tomatoes
       2 tsp pine nuts or chopped almonds
Dice the aubergines about 1cm.  Place in a sieve and sprinkle with salt, then drain after 15 minutes.
Thinly slice the celery then simmer in water for 5 minutes to soften.
Dice the rest of the vegetables..
Fry the drained aubergines in hot oil for 5-10 minutes until somewhat browned, then with a slotted spoon place into a separate bowl and set aside.
In the same frying pan you used to fry the aubergines, use the leftover oi to fry the chopped onions to soften. As soon as they are transparent add the garlic for 1-2 minutes.  Now add the diced peppers, and when softened add the celery, olives, raisins and capers.. Finally stir in the chopped tomatoes, the fried aubergines, and the pine nuts. Taste and adjust the seasoning with a pinch of sugar, a teaspoon of vinegar and, if necessary, a pinch of salt.
Allow to stand overnight to develop the flavours, then put the Caponata into jam jars and screw on the lids.

This will keep for 2 weeks in the fridge but if you want to keep some jars to eat during the winter months, preserve them – simply put a folded tea towel inside a wide saucepan and place the lidded jars on top… (The tea towel is to stop the jars from rattling and breaking).  Now add water half way up the outside of the jars and heat the water gently to boiling point. Turn down  the heat and simmer for 10-15 minutes. Carefully lift out the jars and allow them to cool. You can now keep them for 6 months.

Place a tea towel in the base of a saucepan

Lower the jars in the pan

Pour water to halfway up the jars and simmer for 10 minutes

Carefully remove the jars and allow to cool

Ready to eat whenever you want to