I went to Palermo last year and I’ve got to say, I think it’s my favourite place in Italy. The weather is gorgeous and the food. The food – it’s incredible. Everything has fresh flavours and you can taste the ingredients in every dish.
2 of the dishes really struck a cord with me though and I’m desperate to go back just so I can try them again! The first was pasta with sardines and fennel – it may sound simple but it’s an amazing combination of salty, sweet and crunchy! The other was caponata – I’m pretty sure I ordered this every night wherever we ate!
Although this isn’t an exact replica of the dish, I’ve created my own spin on it which I think is equally as delicious!
So even if you can’t go to Sicily, why not try out this dish next to a warm cozy fire – perfect on top of polenta, scooped up with light and airy ciabatta or atop some salad (arugula works perfectly because of its peppery-ness!)
Caponata vegan, dairy free, gluten free
This is a comforting dish of stewed vegetables that can be eaten warm or cold. It’s the perfect balance of the salty capers with the sweetness of the bright vegetables!
Feel free to increase any vegetables to your preference. Olives also work nicely but I had none on hand – if you do add them I would reduce the salt as the dish is naturally quite salty.
1 medium aubergine, cut into chunks
2 or 3 medium tomatoes, cut into chunks
1 red bell pepper, cut into chunks
1 red onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, crushed and cut
Extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
Dash of white wine (can be omitted)
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 tablespoon dried Italian seasonings (you can also use fresh parsley etc)
1 teaspoon capers
Pinch of dried chilli flakes
You first want to sauté the aubergine in olive oil and season with salt in a wide pan until brown.
Once the aubergine is brown, add some water to the pan and place a lid on top so that it steams and softens.
Add a dash more oil and add in the onions and garlic until fragrant and soft.
Add the vinegar until evaporated then add capers, herbs, tomatoes and peppers.
Also add a pinch of salt and pepper at this point. (Don’t add too much as capers are salty!)
Mix around and add water and cover with a lid so it can steam and soften.
Taste and season and add wine at this point.
Keep sautéing until wine has evaporated and serve.