This is one of my favourite recipes and I can’t believe I’ve never blogged it! I love the acidity and sweetness balanced with the fennel and the eggplant and could eat a HUGE amount (truth be told I usually do eat a huge amount!). It’s a Sicilian dish by origin and is usually served as a dip but I first tried it on my first trip to Italy some years ago at a gorgeous little restaurant in Rome with pasta and that idea has stuck with me ever since. I love the idea of dip as a pasta sauce and that is what you can see in the pic above as I served it with some ricotta agnolotti. It’s great on bruschetta for lunch and it keeps well in the fridge for a few days too so is perfect healthy and quick lunch fare.
Like most of the recipes I blog it’s a dish that can be prepared in advance and pulled together at the last minute.
1/4 cup sultanas (you’re supposed to use raisins but we always have sultanas in the house and close enough is good enough I reckon)
2 large eggplants, diced (some people like them peeled but not me! some people also like to salt them first but personally, I can’t be bothered!)
half a large bulb of fennel or one small one, diced or sliced, as per your preference
1 and a half teaspoons salt
2 onions, diced
2 cloves of garlic, minced/chopped finely
3 tomatoes, diced (some people like to deseed them, not me, too much fuss!) – or one tin of crushed tomatoes
good handful of pine nuts
1/4 cup sugar (it seems a lot but you kinda need it to balance out the acidity)
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/4 cup chopped black olives (I prefer kalamata personally)
2 teaspoons capers, chopped (I like them chopped but you don’t have to
1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
- Soak sultanas in a small bowl, just covering with water and drain after 15 minutes – you don’t have to do this but it does make them a bit plumper and yummier
- If you’re keen on salting the eggplant, do so for half an hour, rinse and drain, then pat dry with paper towel
- Heat a tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat in a fry pan and saute eggplant until well brown. It takes about 10 minutes. When done, place the eggplant in a bowl.
- Heat another tablespoon of oil, saute the onion for a few minutes, then add the garlic and fennel, cooking for about 5 minutes, until soft-ish.
- Add the tomatoes and saute for a few minutes til it looks all lovely and soft and they’ve made nice friends. Then put in the same dish with the eggplant
- Add the pine nuts to the frypan and toast, moving them about until lightly golden – add to the rest of the mixture in the bowl
- Place sugar and vinegar in fry pan, stirring until the sugar dissolves, then add sultanas, olives and capers, heating through briefly. Add the eggplant mix from the bowl.
- Stir all together and let fry for a minute or so, adding parsley at the last minute.
I’m also playing along with Stacey for Meatless Monday 🙂