This recipe hits home! 🇲🇹 Although the traditional dish is from the neighbouring island of Sicily, it is also a popular dish in Malta with varieties found all over the place.
The basic ingredients for the dish are aubergines, tomatoes, olives and capers. Some include other vegetables like zucchini, carrots and bell peppers. The beautiful thing about caponata is that each and every family have their own way and method of preparing this dish. Either way, it is always a symphony of flavours! 🎼🎶
My recent favourite addition to the caponata is a big can of white beans. Beans not only add volume to the dish, they also make it complete with the added protein. I find that the creamy white beans, cannelli beans or butter beans are the best addition!
Traditionally in the caponata, aubergines are fried. However, you can also roast it in the oven for a healthier option. I have done it both ways and it turns out good either way.
I believe that caponata is best served the day after it is cooked. If this is not an option, it should at least be allowed to cool down and served at room temperature.
White Bean Caponata
A symphony of flavours on a plate 😋
- 2 medium aubergines, diced
- Vegetable/Olive oil
- 2 onions, finely sliced
- 3 garlic cloves, sliced
- Bunch of fresh parsley, chopped
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 180g cherry tomatoes, halved
- 2 tbsp capers
- 80g pitted olives, halved
- 50g sultana
- 5 tbsp tomato paste
- 800g tin white beans, drained and rinsed
- 50g pine nuts, toasted
- Sea salt & black pepper
- In a large saucepan, heat a couple of tablespoons of vegetable oil. Once hot, add the diced aubergine and cook for around 10 minutes until golden, stirring occasionally so it does not stick to the bottom. You may want to do this in batches so that the pan is not overcrowded and then return all aubergine the pan once ready. (see note below)
- Add the sliced onion and sauté for 8-10 minutes until soft and translucent.
- Add the garlic, chopped parsley stalks and dried oregano and cook for 2 minutes until fragrant.
- Pour in the balsamic vinegar and cook until most of it has evaporated.
- Add the cherry tomatoes, capers, olives and sultana and cook for 10 minutes.
- Stir in the tomato paste. Add the white beans and season with salt and pepper. Cover and let it simmer for at least another 20 minutes.
- Take off the heat and allow to cool to room temperature.
- Serve topped with pine nuts and chopped parsley leaves and a side of toasted sourdough bread.
For a healthier alternative, you may want to roast the aubergine instead of frying. In that case, place the diced aubergine on a baking tray, drizzle with olive oil and place in a preheated oven at 200 degrees Celsius. Roast for 25 minutes or until golden brown. Then add to the saucepan at step 5 above.