Sicilian “Caponata”

This recipe takes quite long time, as all very good stuff do. But, you can keep it in your refrigerator for quite long. I remember when was a kid in my grandma kitchen, I used to hide under the table scared of her splattering oil. She had this tiny and old kitchen, and yet, she was sitting always there. She had other rooms of course, but as far as I can remember, she was always in that tiny steamy kitchen, always up to something, with some soap opera on her tiny old tv, always on. As a matter of fact, my grandma won’t know, but I too spend most of my day in my less small kitchen with music or youtube video or rai.replica on.

caponata

Time: 35 min – 2 hours preparation

Ingredients: for 4 portions

  • 3 aubergine
  • 2 onions
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 red pepper
  • 80 gr green olives (without pit)
  • 40 gr capers (much better the one with dry brining)
  • 30 gr pin nut
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 3 tbs olive oil
  • 1 stick of celery
  • 3 tomatoes (or a can chopped salsa tomatoes)
  • 100 ml white Italian vinegar (or apple vinegar)
  • 1 l frying oil (sunflower is better)
  • salt and pepper

1. First wash and dry with a kitchen towel your eggplants, cut them in cubes and put them on a strainer. Spread some salt on them and let them rest for at least 1 hour. You can also put an heavy pot upon them, in order to get rid of more bitter liquid. This method is always used to get rid of excess water during frying process. Otherwise they get mushy and not crispy.

2.While the eggplants take a nap, I usually get forward with the preparation of the other ingredient. a) I cut finely the onion b) wash capers and olive, cut them in small circles and leave some whole. c) wash and cut the red pepper and celery.

3. In an old pan bring the sunflower oil to right temperature( it takes usually 10-15 minutes or so medium heat).You know the right temperature, if you toss one cube of eggplant and immediately some small bubbles appear all around it. When they get some golden color, you get them out of oil and lay on some kitchen paper to absorb the excesses oil.

4. In another big pan put 3 tbs spoon olive oil and cook onions for 2 minutes.

5, Add a pressed clove garlic, red peppers, 80 gr green olives and celery. Add some salt and cook for 5 minutes. Then add 40 gr capers, 30 gr pine nuts and tomatoes without seeds or the one from a can without the preserving water, cook for other 4 minutes high temperature.

6. Add the fried eggplants, together with 100 ml white vinegar and one big tablespoon sugar. Cook for other 5-6 minutes medium temperature.

7. Now check, and eventually add, salt and pepper and let the whole thing cool down. It is usually served room temperature, better on some wholegrain bread.

and now I am so hungry… Buon appettito!

 

 

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No-effort Vegan Parmigiana

parmigianaI’ve been always cheating on parmigiana recipe. Vegan or original recipe, I do not want to spend hours frying or roasting eggplants. Of course, it tastes slightly different, lighter I would say. But in 30 minutes it is ready to go and healthier. The tricks are very easy: cut very thin your eggplants and make a maximum of three layer, better only two. I’ve never find the need of put eggplants under salt and press, have you?

Note: You’ll need a sheet of baking-paper

Time: 30 minutes cooking + 10 minutes preparation

Ingredients:   [6 portions]

  • 2 eggplant
  • 500 m (1 pack) of tomatoes passata
  • vegan soy-based prosciutto/mortadella ( what you find on offer :) )
  • vegan cheese (optional, if costs too much, screw it!)
  • salt & pepper
  • oregano
  • olive oil
  • fine breadcrumbs (as required)

1. Wash and cut eggplants very thin, almost 5 mm thick.

2. In a lasagna tray, or any backing tray you have on hand, lay a sheet of baking paper. Put the first layer of eggplants: avoid to overlay them on each other and salt them.

3. Cover the eggplants with the tomatoes passata. Use a spoon to spread it even.

4. Add pepper and oregano. Put a layer of vegan prosciutto and cheese, if you have it.

5. Repeat the layer: 1. eggplants 2. salt  3.tomatoes passata 4.oregano and pepper

6. For the last layer: spread some fine breadcrumbs all over and some olive oil. In this way you’ll have some kind of soft-crust on it. Cook for 30 minutes at 200° both up and down heat.

Wait a little bit before serving, when parmigiana is too hot it is easy to fall apart and become a mess (prooved by personal experience >.< ). Buon appetito!

Grandma grilled Eggplants

grilled_eggplantGrandma used to make them in Summer, when eggplants are in season and they have no seeds. She used to put them in jars also, preserved with oil for the winter. However, she was famous for her tomatoes passata, every year she spent 4 days doing it and she had so many jars in her pantry. I miss her and I miss these old traditions.

All that you need is some music or movie,or as she used to, watch some soap opera like “Beautiful”, because grilling eggplants take time. They can last up to one week in your fridge, or 6 months if you decided to preserved them in oil.

I got my grill pan “GRILLA” from ikea 3 years ago ( around 10 €),  it is still in perfect condition. I use vinegar to clean it :)

Time: 30 minutes

Ingredients: 

  • 4 aubergines
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1 fresh red chili pepper (with/out seeds, up to your spicy taste)
  • fresh basil, fresh mint
  • 2 tea spoons oregano,salt
  • 2 tbs balsamic vinegar ( for the preservers use regular white one, from grapefruit)
  • 4 tbs olive oil

1. Pre-heat your grill pan with medium-high heat and spread some salt on it.Doing so, the eggplants slices won’t get sticked.

2. While the grill is warming up,wash and cut the eggplants in 1 cm thick slices. Thicker they are, longer they have to grill both sides, certain I don’t want that !

3. While your eggplants are grilling, let’s make the dressing: in a bowl mix 4 tbs olive oil, 2 tbs balsamic vinegar, 4 garlic cloves and red chili-pepper very fine cut, 2 teaspoons oregano, mint and basil fresh leaves, as much as you like.

4. Each time a slice will be ready, put it in the bowl so it can soak the dressing up. Each time another round of eggplants will be cooked and added to the bowl, do not forget to stir them. It could seem that the dressing won’t be enough, but, as long as you see them changing color and turning more brown ( because of the black balsamic vinegar), trust me, it is good enough :)

and Buon appetito!