Yotam Ottolenghi’s Caponata recipe and a ‘Festive Giveaway’

September 29, 2010 at 4:23 pm 20 comments

The Monsoon is retreating (having a hail storm outside as I type this) but we are moving into another season of festivities. I am excited to host my first giveaway from CSN stores for the festive season.

CSN stores carries everything from Dining tables to cookware to shoes and bags .CSN stores has generously offered one lucky reader of My Foodcourt from USA and Canada a Gift certificate worth $60 to use on any of the CSN stores websites.

I would like all my readers to please leave a comment below this post letting me know what you like about this blog and what would you like to see more often on My Foodcourt. Please leave one comment per person along with your E-mail address. All you silent readers, now’s your chance to share your thoughts with me.:).

The Giveaway is restricted to USA and Canada readers and there may be international shipping charges in the case of Canadian addresses.

One lucky winner will be chosen randomly and the winner will be announced on 17th October 2010.

Here are the Giveaway details:

Gift certificate: A one-time-use certificate worth $ 60 at any of the CSN stores

How to enter: Leave a comment  with Email ID below this post letting me know what do you like about this blog and what would you like to see more often on My Foodcourt.

Giveaway closes: 16th October 2010, winner will be chosen on 17th October 2010.

Giveaway Valid for: Readers from USA and Canada (there may be international shipping charges in the case of Canadian addresses.)

A Special Thanks to CSN stores team for generously sponsoring this giveaway

§§§§§§§ ♥♥♥ ♪♪♪♪ ♥♥♥§§§§§§§

After the exciting  Giveaway now for an exciting Caponata recipe…..
Over the past few years Food blogging has changed my perspective about different cuisines. Chinese is no longer restricted to Hakka noodles and Fried Rice; Mexican is no longer just Tacos and Salsa; Italian is not just pizza and pasta. Surfing the various blogs each day has made me explore many vegetarian recipes beyond these popular dishes of that particular region.

Alessio  challenged us to make a Sicilian speciality-Caponata for this month’s Velveteer’s Challenge.

‘The 4 Velveteers was started by Aparna, Asha, Alessio and Pam, who are passionate about different cuisines and food in general. Each month, we will attempt a new dish and share our experiences and the recipes we used. If you’re interested in joining the Velveteers, please feel free to drop by our Google group
I have never made a Caponata before, so was quite intrigued by it.

Wikipedia describes Caponata as a Sicilian aubergine dish, a cooked vegetable salad made from chopped fried eggplant and celery seasoned with sweetened vinegar, and capers in a sweet and sour sauce usually served as an Antipasto.

In my quest for a simple Caponata recipe I came across this recipe by Yotam Ottolenghi. I loved the use of Harissa paste- the ‘Ottolenghi  treatment’ as the recipe says- in the traditional Caponata recipe. I had some Harissa seasoning which my brother had gifted me some time back. Also the addition of raisins was quite interesting. I did not have capers neither did I have red-wine vinegar. I skipped the capers and substituted the red-wine vinegar with white-wine vinegar. I also substituted the canned tomatoes with fresh blanched tomatoes.

The loved the array of colors that the vegetables brought to the Caponata. I love eggplants in most of its form but here the humble eggplant/ aubergine was transformed into a flavorful salad with just a few ingredients. The fresh celery leant a refreshing flavor to the Caponata and the harissa added the much desired tang. The raisins were a welcome ‘sweet’ addition to the already ‘tart-spicy’ caponata.

I also added some fresh Basil leaves, which for a change are in abundance right now. I served this delicious Caponata on Bite sized- Chilly rusks.

As recommended in the original recipe, it also makes a great sauce for pasta or couscous. It’s also delicious with cheese: try spreading it over rustic bread and topping with mature vegetarian pecorino, much like the English cheese and pickle sandwich.

I could not save the Caponata to be savored the next day but you might want to make an extra batch since it tastes better the next day!

Here’s the recipe:

Adapted from Yotam Ottolenghi ‘s Caponata recipe


2 slender Eggplants/ Aubergines diced

2-3 tender celery stalks cut on an angle into slices

1 small red pepper diced

1 onion diced

~ 3 small tomatoes blanched, peeled and chopped

Few green olives sliced

3 tbsp chopped parsley

~ 2 tbsp Fresh Basil leaves chopped

2 tbsp Harissa Seasoning

1 ½ tbsp white wine vinegar

Handful of Raisins

½ tsp sugar

1 tsp Lemon juice

Salt and pepper to taste

Red Chili flakes as required (optional)

2 tbsp Olive oil+2 tbsp sunflower oil


Heat both oils in a heavy-bottom pan or a non stick pan.

Add the diced aubergines and fry for 5-6 minutes till golden brown, stirring occasionally.

Use a slotted spoon to transfer the aubergine to a colander and sprinkle with a bit of salt.

After a few minutes, transfer to soak on a paper towel.

Add the celery to the hot oil, fry for three minutes, add the pepper and cook for two minutes. Transfer to the colander, then to a paper towel.

Sauté the onion and harissa seasoning in the oil (add a little more to the pan, if needed) for seven minutes, until soft and golden.

Drain off any excess oil from the pan, add the tomatoes and vinegar, stir and bring to a simmer. Add the fried vegetables, olives and sugar, and season.

 If the mix is too dry, add a few tablespoons of water. Bring to a boil, cover and simmer for 10 minutes.

Remove the pan from the heat taste and adjust the seasoning.

Add the raisins.

Leave to come to room temperature, add the lemon juice and parsley,basil leaves and Red chilli flakes(if using)

Serve with sliced baguettesor garlic bread or some spicy rusks as I did.

Thanks Alessio for introducing me to the delicious Sicilian favorite, I am going to try several other versions in several different ways from now on.

Do Check out the various versions of the Caponata on the other Velveteer’s blogs:

 Aparna’s Eggplant and Fig Caponata

Asha’s Sicilian Caponata over Zatared lavash

Sarah’s Caponata- A Sicilian Relish

Veena’s Sicilian Caponata

Ken’s Caponata jam


Entry filed under: aubergine, basil, celery, cooking oil, Cuisines of the world, eggplant, flatleaf, gelling agent, Giveaway, lemon, lemon juice, olive, olive oil, onion, parsley, Party Time, pepper, Quick eats, raisin, red chili, red pepper, salt, Side dishes, sugar, sunflower oil, sweetener, The 4 Velveteers, tomato, veggies, vinegar, white wine vinegar. Tags: .

Petite Lemon Meringue Pies And the winner is….

20 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Aparna  |  September 29, 2010 at 6:39 pm

    You finally did it. And it looks lovely, Madhuli. Eggplant is not a favourite, but we liked the caponata. Even Akshaya, who hates eggplant, was willing to eat it. 🙂

    • 2. My foodcourt  |  September 30, 2010 at 10:41 am

      Thanks Aparna..even my little boy enjoyed it..he thinks the falavours match the flavours of Pasta! 🙂

  • 3. Ashley H.  |  September 29, 2010 at 9:29 pm

    I love seeing all of the new recipes that I never even knew about. I would love to see some budget friendly recipes with maybe a shopping list.

    • 4. My foodcourt  |  September 30, 2010 at 10:39 am

      Thanks for the kind words Ashley..shopping list and budget friendly recipes sounds like a great idea..will surely think about it.

  • 5. Sri  |  September 29, 2010 at 10:07 pm

    Hi how are you. I visit your blog simply to read your stories about the new dishes i never dreamt of hearing. I love all your bakes. Ilike to see more baking posts on your blog. i made your apricot and prune cake till today i made it nearly 10 times sticking to your recipe but adding little changes like adding orange, pinepapple etc. Its always loved by family and friends.

    keep up the good work and thanks for the giveaway.

    • 6. My foodcourt  |  September 30, 2010 at 10:38 am

      Thanks Sri..Great to hear that you make the cake quite often..would love to hear the diffreent flavours that you have tried…:) Thanks again

  • 7. JAK  |  September 30, 2010 at 10:21 pm

    I like your photographs! I’d like to continue seeing lots more recipes!

  • 8. kari  |  October 1, 2010 at 8:09 am

    I love your recipes. Keep doing what you’re doing!

  • 9. domestic diva  |  October 1, 2010 at 8:09 am

    I like seeing how you present food. You make everything look lovely. It inspires my own plating.

  • 10. veena  |  October 1, 2010 at 11:36 am

    this is no nice madhuli,wonderful presentation

  • 11. Drew  |  October 3, 2010 at 2:41 am

    I like the ethnic recipes, many of which I’d like to try. The index is very handy. More recipes is all I can think of that I would like to see more of.

  • 12. Theresa N  |  October 7, 2010 at 4:04 pm

    Love your blog, wonderful recipes I wouldn’t change a thing.

  • 13. Jyoti  |  October 14, 2010 at 9:59 pm

    Hi Madhuli,

    Loving that you are exploring so many exciting new possibilities. I think your blog is a great source of inspiration and a wonderful resource for many home cooks in India keen to try novel flavors from foreign lands. Love the easy writing and simple instructions. Perhaps including sources where you can obtain hard to find ingredients would be useful? At the same time, don’t give up on posting those typically traditional Indian recipes too. Sitting on foreign shores I find your blog a perfect go to source for seeking those familiar flavors from home.

    Keep writing and all the very best to you in your blogging adventures.


  • 14. Carolsue  |  October 15, 2010 at 2:29 pm

    The Index is really handy! Could it be grouped by type of recipe? I love curry recipes, and the more of them you post, the better! Also, more dessert recipes!
    digicat {AT} sbcglobal {DOT} net

  • 15. nancy  |  October 17, 2010 at 8:42 am

    I enjoy the recipes and the index is a wonderful idea. I’d just say keep adding vegetarian recipes – I’m a low carb cook

    nblexp at gmail dot com

  • 16. Elenna  |  October 18, 2010 at 12:08 pm

    I love the Oats Roundup section. I love collecting Breakfast recipes, so I’ll say I’d like to see more of them. I intend to try the Oat Pancakes and waffles very soon!
    Elenna {AT] sbcglobal [DOT] net

  • 17. And the winner is…. « My Foodcourt  |  October 22, 2010 at 11:43 am

    […] am delighted to announce the winner of the first giveaway hosted at My […]


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September 2010




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