Summer is ending (these are the words of a famous Italian “trash” song… it’s amazing how many trash songs I know), but my idea is to enjoy this summer as long as it lasts: today, according to the calendar, is the first day of autumn, the air is fresher already, but I still crave nice outdoor walks and bike rides, picnics (oh mine, I really love picnics) and fresh and colourful dishes (but, don’t worry, I already have a pumpkin in the fridge ready for soups, and it won’t be my first soup of the season).
Today is the first day of autumn, but I want to celebrate summer with a dish that constantly (and pleasantly) marks my summers: the eggplant caponata. This is my grandfather’s recipe (blood ties never meant much to me, so he’s not my grandfather, but this grandfather not grandfather is more of a grandfather than my real grandfather .. it looks like a tongue twister, but I understood myself – I’ll make a test to see who understood this strange phrase) and now for me it’s THE recipe, the only one I have ever tasted that make me wanna steal the bowl and hide it under my covers, so I can eat caponata until winter arrives.
- 800 g of eggplant, diced
- extra virgin olive oil
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 4 ripe tomatoes
- 1 tablespoon of tomato paste
- 1 celery
- 1 handful of pitted green olives
- 20-30 g of pine nuts (but you can use more or less)
- 1 tablespoon capers, desalted
- 1 tablespoon of sugar
- about 75-100 ml of white vinegar (but you can use more)
- fresh basil
- Drain eggplant cubes with salt, rinse well, dry them and fry them in extra virgin olive oil. Set aside.
- Braise onion in extra virgin olive oil and add the tomatoes, cut into pieces, tomato paste and season with pepper.
- Cook for 10 minutes, then add chopped celery, olives, pine nuts, capers and sugar dissolved in vinegar.
- Cook for 20 minutes, then add the eggplant (previously fried) and season with salt.
- Cook for 5 more minutes, to blend the flavors together.
- Let it cool down and serve cold, garnished with fresh basil.