Even though the Giro is over, I still have a few recipes left from Italy to feature. This Sicilian recipe, with Spanish origins, features eggplant which were first brought over to the island back to the ninth century. It was introduced by people who lived in desert areas in and around the Roman province of Arabia. Culinary scholars believe that using the eggplant in this fashion most likely dates back to the 1700’s and might possibly have been invented by a Spaniard on a ship that used the vinegar as a preservative.
The sweet and vinegary dish is best served at room temperature or slightly chilled. I’m usually a little hesitant to add celery because it tends to draw attention away from the rest of the dish. But, in this case, the sweetness counterbalanced that overbearing celery taste.
via Discover Italian Food
Ingredients for 4:
- 1 eggplant/aubergines
- 2 tablespoons of olive oil
- 1 medium onion, finely chopped
- 4 plum tomatoes, peeled and finely chopped
- 1/2 cup of white wine vinegar
- 2 tablespoons of sugar
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- tender central sticks of a head of celery (about 3/4 cups once chopped)
- 2 Tablespoons of capers rinsed
- 5 Tablespoons of green olives, pitted oil, chopped
- 2 Tablespoons of chopped fresh parsley
Wash the aubergines and cut into small cubes. Sprinkle with salt, and leave to drain in a colander for 1 hour.
Heat the oil in a large pan. Stir in the onion, and cook until soft. Stir in the garlic and tomatoes, and fry over moderate heat for 10 minutes. Stir in the vinegar, sugar and pepper.
Simmer until the sauce reduces, 10 minutes more. Blanch the celery sticks in boiling water until tender. Drain, and chop into 2 cm pieces.
Add to the sauce with the capers and olives.
Pat the aubergine cubes dry with paper towels. Heat the oil to 185 °C, and deep-fry the aubergine in batches until golden. Drain on paper towels.
Add the aubergine to the sauce. Stir gently and season. Stir in the parsley.
Allow to stand for 30 minutes. Serve at room temperature.