This Community Recipe is Mathilde’s Sweet and Sour Sicilian Caponata. This is a classic dish of cubed eggplant surrounded in a flavorsome tomato, onion, garlic and celery sauce. Green olives and capers bring the perfect sour salty edge, rounded off with bright fresh basil. Typically, caponata is served cold or at room temperature as a salad, appetiser or side. But why not serve with a whole grain, potato or fresh bread to make it a complete meal!
Community Recipes is a recurring feature where we share your vegan recipes on the Jewish Food Hero blog. If you want to share a recipe in this series, pitch us your idea here. This series is all about sharing healthy plant-based and vegan recipes. We are creating a positive community around food and sharing.
All about Mathilde
Mathilde is a digital communication manager. She grew up near Paris and has lived in Montmartre for the last 10 years. Her mother is French and her father is Sicilian. An avid lover of travel, Mathilde has lived in Australia and her work took her to Vancouver last year. The pandemic sent her back to Paris, where she is now with her puppy Bulldog, Rimi.
Cooking is always on the cards, especially for friends who don’t complain about it! Her favorite meal is the timeless classic: pizza! A massive music lover, Mathilde enjoys funk, soul and bossa nova and just can’t wait to go back to concerts again.
Inspiration in the kitchen
There are some book recommendations which come up time and again in our Community Recipes, and Mathilde’s are no exception!
For cooking inspiration, she turns to the classic:
Yotam Ottolenghi’s Jerusalem
Alongside this, she also loves
Edda Servi Machlin’s The Classic Cuisine of the Italian Jews: Traditional Recipes and Menus and a Memoir of a Vanished Way of Life
Marie LaForet’s Vegan Bible
How was Mathilde’s Sweet and Sour Sicilian Caponata Recipe created?
Caponata is a very famous Sicilian dish. It’s vegan and served cold. You can eat it as a salad, an appetizer, a side dish and a perfect Shabbat dinner! It has a sweet and sour flavor. This dish is dear to Mathilde because it reminds her of family holidays in Sicily. Each of her aunts has their own recipe and which one is the best is always a source debate when they get together.
Caponata variations and serving suggestions
This traditional Sicilian dish is most often served at room temperature as an appetiser or side. But there are a million more ways to enjoy this versatile and flavor packed dish!
Add raisins and pine nuts for more texture and to bring out more sweetness
Add chili flakes for a spicier taste
Serve warm on crusty bread with smooth hummus
Pulse it in a food processor to make a chunky relish to spread on wraps and sandwiches
Use it as a topping for crunchy baked potatoes
Serve with brown rice or any wholegrain to make a filling meal
Fill vegan pastry parcels to make sophisticated bite size appetizers
Serve warm and top with a creamy swirl of vegan yogurt
Cut the eggplants into cubes. Put them in a colander, sprinkle them with salt, and let them drain for about an hour.
Dry the eggplants and fry them in olive oil in a hot pan. Once nicely browned all over, set them aside.
In another pan, brown the garlic and the chopped onions in olive oil. Add the chopped celery and stir while it continues to cook.
Once the onions are translucent and the celery has softened a little, add the drained capers and olives. How much you add is up to you – you might prefer a small handful of olives and a tablespoon of capers, or a whole jar of each! Sauté for 10 minutes.
Dice or roughly chop the tomatoes, add them to the mix and cook for about twenty minutes.
Add the eggplant to the mix and stir to combine. Taste before adding sugar, vinegar, salt, pepper and basil according to your taste.
Taste as you go and balance the flavors. If it’s too sour, add more sugar, and vice versa!
Allow to cool and serve straight away, or keep in the refrigerator for 2-3 days.
Sometimes we all need a little inspiration to mix up our regular recipe rotation. Our Community Recipes feature is for just that – to share our favorites and hear from a variety of people in our community. Since you’ve read Mathilde’s, do you feel inspired to share your own recipe? Don’t forget to get in touch to share your vegan recipe too!