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Augergines [Eggplants] in Sweet and Sour Sauce (Caponata)

This superbly aromatic dish comes from Sicily and is usually served as an hors d'oeuvre, although it can be served as an accompaniment to cold meats as well. If possible, use a good-quality vinegar, otherwise the blend of flavours will not be so delicate.

ingredients

4 - 6 servings
125 ml (4 fl oz) 1/2 cup Olive oil
4 Small aubergines (eggplants), chopped and degorged
4 Celery stalks, finely chopped
4 Large onions, finely chopped
125 g (4 oz) 1/2 cup Tomato puree (paste)
50 ml (2 fl oz) 1/4 cup Water
1 Tbs Capers
50 g (2 oz) 1/2 cup Green olives, chopped
75 ml (3 fl oz) 3/8 cup Red wine vinegar
1 Tbs Sugar

method

1. Heat three-quarters of the oil in a large frying-pan. Add the aubergine (eggplant) dice and fry for 8 to 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until they are soft and brown.

2. Remove the dice from the pan and transfer them to drain on kitchen towels.

3. Add the remaining oil to the pan. Stir in the celery and onions and fry until they are soft. Blend the tomato puree (paste) and water together and stir the mixture into the vegetables. Reduce the heat to low and simmer the mixture, covered, for 15 minutes. Stir in all the remaining ingredients, then return the aubergine (eggplant) dice to the pan and stir to blend thoroughly. Simmer the mixture for 20 minutes.

4. Transfer the caponata to a serving bowl. Chill in the refrigerator for 2 hours before serving.

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