Tuesday, 6 December 2011
Je T'aime... moi non plus! (Melanzana al Funghetto-Caponata-Addictive!)
Christmas is fast approaching... my kitchen is already smelling like Christmas... Summertime, sunshine, sea and Italy seem a lifetime away... not really!
But I love Winter... I have really come to love those cold frosty morning, when tiny little drops of dew freeze on the webs, little gems of beauty that money can't buy.
I love my old Welsh dresser. Here it is
all dressed up for Christmas!
But deep, deep inside, the sun somehow keeps shining and the memories of Winters past sometimes come to the surface and mingle with my present.
The scent of soap in my aunt's bathroom, my mum's perfume and the smell of ... food, yes, food... are continuously fighting in my mind to bring back memories... good memories, happy, serene memories of life in the sun.
I sometimes get the urge to cook and taste food, simply because it's a way, for me, to smell "home."
This morning I went out, feeling rather nostalgic, so... I thought :"Why not do some "building?" Let us try to rebuild a slice of home. Baudelaire said it and Proust confirmed it: food is the "Missing link!"
Anyway! I made a dish, today, just like we make at home, following Rosa's recipe! Some may call it caponata. Where I come from we call it "Al Funghetto", translating from a word in barese dialect which sounds something like "foonjetidd." In Campania, the word sounds very similar. There is a similar dish, in Campania, called "Ciaulella" with an added ingredient: potato and, when in season, courgette (zucchine) flowers. I think I prefer the healthier original version, but Ciaulella is good, too!
Melanzane al Funghetto
(enough to cover the bottom of a medium size saucepan)
1 large aubergine (eggplant)
1 large onion
4-5 fresh celery sticks
7-8 medium to small plum tomatoes
(can use 4 tinned tomatoes)
This dish is very healthy, as it's rich in fibre and there is no frying involved. All the prepared vegetables go into the pan with the oil, at once!
So, all you need to do is peel your onion and dice (small). Cut your celery sticks (I also like to add some of the leaves, as I like the flavour) into pieces the same size as the onion. Half your tomatoes, then cut and dice your aubergine (medium sized pieces-look at the photo!)
My chopped vegetables
You now need to cut your washed peppers in half (you should wash all your vegetables) discard the seeds, then cut into squares (about 1 1/2 '', 3 cm.) These should be about the same size as your aubergine pieces.
You are now almost ready to cook your dish! Place all the prepared ingredients in the pot, with the cold oil, add your small tomatoes, cut into halves, stir, the... turn on the heat!
In the pot!
Stir with care to make sure you keep your vegetables whole. If you think you need more oil, add some at the beginning. As you stir, make sure the vegetables don't stick to the base of the pan. Add a small glass of water, salt and pepper, then cook on a low heat (with a lid on) for about 15 minutes. Check and taste, let some of the water reduce and just keep tasting (remember to leave some for later, though!) until all the vegetables are quite firm, but cooked.
This dish is delicious served just with bread (we have in the evening, in Winter) but... if you want to, it can be eaten (minus juices) as a side dish. I am showing you two ways of serving my "caponata" : with crusty bread (YUM!) or with my very delicious chicken and potato, like my mum used to make! It's so good and it will taste even better tomorrow (if there's any left!)
Two ways to serve one delicious dish!
My chicken and potato dish
But that's another easy recipe!