Ingredients for making Caponata

  1. 1 aubergine, peeled in zebra stripes and cut into rough chunks
  2. 2 red romano peppers, core, membrane and seeds removed, cut into rough chunks
  3. 2 tomatoes, halved or quartered
  4. 1 red onion, peeled and cut into 8 wedges
  5. 4+1 tbsp olive oil
  6. 1 tbsp capers, rinsed and drained
  7. 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
  8. 1 garlic clove, peeled and thinly sliced
  9. 1/2 – 1 red chili (to taste), finely chopped
  10. 8 green olives, stone removed, roughly chopped
  11. salt and pepper

Making of Polenta

  1. 750 ml chicken or vegetable stock (or water, though stock is preferable)
  2. 125 g polenta (quick or instant variety is fine)
  3. 50 g butter, in cubes
  4. 100 g shredded mature cheese such as parmesan or cheddar (I use Turkish eski kaşar)
  5. 3/4 tsp dried rosemary
  6. salt and pepper

For Garnishing

  1. 2 tbsp pine nuts, lightly toasted in a dry pan
  2. 1 tbsp finely chopped flat leaf parsley or another herb to taste

My method

  1. Preheat the oven to 200 C.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Mix the drained capers and red wine vinegar and set aside.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. When the polenta is soft (whether using regular or quick/instant), add butter, cheese and rosemary. Season.
  8. Serve the polenta immediately in individual portions, topped with the caponata. Sprinkle over the toasted pine nuts and chopped parsley.

Published by Avtar Singh Rana

A brief about Chef Avtar Singh Rana Chef Avtar Singh Rana a passionate professional celebrity chef having more than 2 decades of experience. A chef who wears different hats, who ranges from the city Delhi is someone who loves interaction and discovery with a vision of always coming up with the best and true perfectionist at his work, he dwells in photography, traveling and of course food. He started his carrier with Taj Group of hotels, in the year 1998 and since then has only achieved milestones and growth immensely his hunger to learn and explore more got him travelling to the middle east, Oman, KSA , multiple times, where he worked for some of the iconic hotels. His talent also brought him recognition from Radisson, Starwood and Accor, where he was responsible for the preopening of the hotels. An individual who leads by the examples and has the knack of grasping quickly and extend warm hospitality.

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