Ingredients for making Caponata
- 1 aubergine, peeled in zebra stripes and cut into rough chunks
- 2 red romano peppers, core, membrane and seeds removed, cut into rough chunks
- 2 tomatoes, halved or quartered
- 1 red onion, peeled and cut into 8 wedges
- 4+1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tbsp capers, rinsed and drained
- 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
- 1 garlic clove, peeled and thinly sliced
- 1/2 – 1 red chili (to taste), finely chopped
- 8 green olives, stone removed, roughly chopped
- salt and pepper
Making of Polenta
- 750 ml chicken or vegetable stock (or water, though stock is preferable)
- 125 g polenta (quick or instant variety is fine)
- 50 g butter, in cubes
- 100 g shredded mature cheese such as parmesan or cheddar (I use Turkish eski kaşar)
- 3/4 tsp dried rosemary
- salt and pepper
- 2 tbsp pine nuts, lightly toasted in a dry pan
- 1 tbsp finely chopped flat leaf parsley or another herb to taste
- Preheat the oven to 200 C.
- Mix the aubergine, romano peppers, tomatoes and red onion with 4 tbsp olive oil and a little salt and pepper (keeping in mind the capers and olives will add more saltness later). Spread on a baking tray and roast until the vegetables are nearly soft, 30-40 minutes. Leave to cool a little. Deskin and roughly chop the tomatoes, discarding the skin.
- If using regular polenta (not quick/instant), heat the stock and add polenta while stirring. Keep stirring until thickened, put on a lid and leave to simmer on low heat until soft, 30-40 minutes, stirring regularly. Add more stock if the polenta is too thick, it should have a porridge like consistency.
- Mix the drained capers and red wine vinegar and set aside.
- Gently fry the garlic and chili in 1 tbsp olive oil for 20-30 seconds, stirring constantly. Don’t burn the garlic, it will leave a bitter taste. Add the roasted vegetables, the olives and the caper and vinegar mixture. Stir gently and season. Leave on low heat for a few minutes to allow the flavours to mingle.
- If using quick/instant polenta, heat the stock and add polenta while stirring. Keep stirring until thickened and soft, typically 8-10 minutes. Add more stock if the polenta is too thick, it should have a porridge like consistency.
- When the polenta is soft (whether using regular or quick/instant), add butter, cheese and rosemary. Season.
- Serve the polenta immediately in individual portions, topped with the caponata. Sprinkle over the toasted pine nuts and chopped parsley.