I think it may be because I first had it, when cooked by my Italian best friend at university, who has been one of the big influences on me cooking-wise. I wish I could say the same were true vice versa but I fear she still thinks I'm a barbarian with no tastebuds because of my general love for strong flavours. It's not that she did a bad job when cooking it, it's more that I realised through cooking with her a lot that I just plain understood very little about non-Gujarati food at 18 and I found it all rather intimidating.
Anyway. I bought a funny-looking aubergine (see right) at the supermarket the other day - yes, I did buy it basically because it was funny-looking, yes, I do have a mental age of about 7 - and I thought I'd give it a go.
Anyway. Caponata. I went for a combination of Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall's recipe, a vague recollection of what my Italian friend did, and whim.
I chopped an onion, a couple of sticks of celery and three cloves of garlic. Fried for a few minutes Then added a tin of reasonably nice Italian tomatoes, some chopped green olives and some capers.
|onion, celery and garlic|
Did a bit of seasoning at this stage (and tweaked and tasted at the end)- some balsamic vinegar (about 3 table spoons) and about 4 table spoons of sugar. Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall suggested only a table spoon of sugar but, to me, that just didn't taste quite right so I kept adding more until it did, and obviously salt and black pepper. Left to reduce for around 15 minutes.
While that was reducing, I chopped up a couple of aubergines into relatively small pieces (about 1.5 cm square) and fried until golden in some olive oil.
I then combined the aubergine with the onions/celery/tomato mixture, Topped it with fresh parsley. Though, I did think belatedly that rosemary would have been nice as well and might be worth a try next time.
|gram flour pancakes batter|
|gram flour pancake about to be filled with caponata|
It was pretty good. Nice fun dish to cook on a Sunday afternoon. In retrospect, I'm not sure that it's really worth bothering with the pancakes - I think bread would have been just as nice with the caponata and a bit less of a faff but I like my gram flour pancakes so I don't really repine!
|Gram flour pancakes with caponata|