Food & Wine

Inspiration /

Recipe: Easy Sicilian caponata

Contents

Steve Farrow Steve Farrow
Easy Sicilian caponata

Quintessentially Sicilian, caponata is a wonderful sweet-and-sour vegetable stew, with enough assertiveness to make it gorgeous eaten on its own with a rustic loaf, spooned over bruschetta, served with pasta or rice, or as a side dish.

Caponata majors on generous chunks of aubergine, and I've added celery, peppers, tomatoes and onions as backup, all enlivened by tangy vinegar and capers and plump, sweet raisins. I understand that the addition of peppers in my version is likely to get me strung up in some Palermitano or Syracusan households but I'll bet that at some point a Sicilian cook with a glut of sweet red peppers from their smallholding of a garden has chopped them up and chucked them in.

Try scattering toasted pine nuts or almonds over the finished dish, and green olives, chillies or courgette make a delicious addition too. The only thing I must insist on is that caponata should be eaten warm rather than piping hot. It is so much better for it.

Ingredients

(serves 4 as a main, but more as a side dish)

  • 2 aubergines, cut into dice about 2cm square
  • 2 red peppers, cut into large dice
  • 1 large onion, peeled and cut into a large dice
  • 2 celery stalks, washed and cut into chunks
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 400g tin of chopped tomatoes
  • 1 tsp tomato purée
  • 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp caster sugar
  • 2 tbsp raisins
  • 1 tbsp capers
  • 1 tbsp pine kernels, lightly toasted in a hot pan
  • Salt and pepper, a pinch of each

Method

Heat the olive oil in a large pan, add the onion and celery and sauté over a medium heat until they take on a golden colour, about 8 to 10 minutes. Reduce the heat to low and add the aubergine and the peppers and cook until both begin to soften, again about 10 minutes. Stir in the tomato purée, cook for two or three minutes more and then add the tinned tomatoes, the red wine vinegar and the sugar and stir well. Cook over a gentle heat for a further 10 minutes, stirring regularly. Finally add the capers, the raisins and the salt and pepper, cook for a couple of minutes and then stir in the pine nuts. Take off the heat and leave until the caponata is warm rather than hot. Serve.

This is a wonderful dish on its own, but is great as a side dish. It can be used in much the same way as you would with ratatouille, or with pasta, rice, cous cous, quinoa, roasted meats and fowl, crispy skinned roast duck, and oily fish like sardines, tuna, salmon and the like. It can also be used as part of a full-on antipasti spread. If you like heat sprinkle in some dried chilli flakes at the start, as you add the aubergine and peppers.

Wine: Stay Sicilian and pour a generous glass of red-fruited Nero d'avola to complement the delicious sweet-salty-sour charm of the sauce.


Society Promise
Members before profit
Awards

Our website uses cookies with the aim of providing you with a better service. By using this website you consent to The Wine Society using cookies in accordance with our policy.

Close

4.4. Cookie Policy

By using The Wine Society website, you agree to cookies being used in accordance with the policy outlined below. If you do not agree to this, you must alter your browser settings to turn off cookies or block those types which are unacceptable to you or cease using the website.

The Wine Society uses cookies to enable easy navigation and shopping on the website. We take the privacy of all who use our website very seriously and ensure that our use of cookies complies with current EU legislation. The following guide outlines what cookies are, the types of cookies used on The Society's website and how they work.

You may alter your browser settings to turn off cookies or block those types which are unacceptable to you, but this will cause difficulties when accessing and using some areas of the site. Instructions on how to do this can also be found below.

4.4.1. What are 'Cookies'?

  • Most major websites use cookies.
  • A cookie is a very small data file placed on your hard drive by a web page server. It is essentially your access card, and cannot be executed as code or deliver viruses. It is uniquely yours and can only be read by the server that gave it to you.
  • Cookies cannot be used by themselves to identify you.
  • The purpose of a basic cookie is to tell the server that you returned to that web page or have items in your basket. Without cookies, websites and their servers have no memory. A cookie, like a key, enables swift passage from one place to the next.
  • Without a cookie every time you open a new web page the server where that page is stored will treat you like a completely new visitor.
  • More recently, cookies have also been used to collect information about the user which allows a profile of their preferences and interests to be created so that they can be served with interest-based rather than generic information about available goods and services.

4.4.2. How do Cookies help The Wine Society?

Cookies allow our website to function effectively. Cookies also help us to arrange content to match your preferred interests more quickly. We can learn what information is important to our visitors, and what isn't.

4.4.3. How does The Wine Society use cookies?

The Wine Society does not accept advertising from third parties and therefore, as a rule, does not serve third-party cookies. Exceptions to this include performance/analytical cookies (see below), used anonymously to improve the way our website works, the provision of personalised recommendations, and occasions when we may team up with suppliers to offer special discounts on goods or services.

The Society uses technology to track the patterns of behaviour of visitors to our site.

4.4.4. What type of cookies does The Wine Society use?

We use the following three types of cookies:

4.4.4.1. Strictly Necessary Cookies
These cookies are required for the operation of our website, enabling you to move around the website and use its features, such as accessing secure areas of the website. Without these cookies, services like shopping baskets or e-billing cannot be provided. Under this heading, we currently use the following cookies:

  • Authentication Cookie and Anonymous Cookie
    These cookies remember that you are logged in to your account – without them, the website would repeatedly request your login details with each new page you visit during your time on our website. They are removed once your session has ended.
  • Session Cookie
    These cookies are used to remember who you are as you use our site: without them, the website would be unable to tell the difference between you and another Wine Society member and facilities such as your basket and the checkout process would therefore not be able to function. They too are removed once your session has ended.

4.4.4.2. Functionality & Targeting/Tracking Cookies
These cookies are used to recognise you when you return to our website and to provide enhanced features. This allows us to personalise our content for you. Under this heading, we currently use the following cookies:

  • Unique User Cookie
    This cookie is used to:
    • store your share number in order to identify that you have visited the website before. Without this cookie, we would be unable to tell whether you are a member or not.
    • record your visit to the website, the pages you have visited and the links you have followed. We use this information to make our website, the content displayed on it and direct marketing communications we may send to you or contact you about more relevant to your interests.
    • This cookie expires after 13 months.
  • Peerius Cookies
    These third-party cookies are used to provide you with personalised recommendations based on your purchase and browsing history. They expire within 4 hours of your visit.

4.4.4.3. Performance/analytical cookies
These cookies collect information about how visitors use a website, for instance which pages visitors go to most often, and if they get error messages from web pages. These cookies don't collect information which identifies a visitor. All information these cookies collect is aggregated and therefore anonymous. It is only used to improve how a website works. Under this heading, we currently use the following cookies:

  • Google Analytics Cookies
    These are third-party cookies to enable Google Analytics to monitor website traffic. All information is recorded anonymously. Using Google Analytics allows The Society to better understand how members use our site and monitor website traffic.

4.4.4.4. Authentication Cookie
In order for us to ensure that your data remains secure it is necessary for us to verify that your session is authentic (i.e. it has not been compromised by a malicious user). We do this by storing an otherwise meaningless unique ID in a cookie for the duration of your visit. No personal information can be gained from this cookie.

4.4.5. How do you turn cookies off?

All modern browsers allow you to modify your cookie settings so that all cookies, or those types which are not acceptable to you, are blocked. However, please note that this may affect the successful functioning of the site, particularly if you block all cookies, including essential cookies. For example, In Internet Explorer, go to the Tools Menu, then go to Internet Options, then go to Privacy. Here you can change the rules your browser uses to accept cookies. You can find out more in the public sources mentioned below.

4.4.6. Learn more about cookies

4.4.7. Changes to our cookie policy

Any changes we may make to our cookie policy in the future will be posted on the website and, where appropriate, notified to you by email. Please check back frequently to see any updates and changes to our cookie policy.