tangy vegetable dish, Caponata may be served as an appetizer to a dinner as extra-special accompaniment to cold roasted

meat. It is important that a good quality vinegar be used, otherwise the blend of flavours will not be so delicate.

Caponata can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.4 small aubergines

2 teaspoons salt

4 fl. oz. olive oil

4 celery stalks, finely sliced

2 large onions, thinly sliced

4 oz. canned tomato puree diluted in 2 fl. oz. water

1 tablespoon capers

2 oz. green olives, stoned and chopped

3 fl. oz. red wine vinegar

1 tablespoon sugar

Peel and dice the aubergines . Sprinkle them with the salt and leave them for about 45 minutes to extract as much liquid

as possible. Rinse the aubergines with cold water, drain them in a colander and pat them dry with kitchen paper towels.

In a large frying-pan, heat 3 fluid ounces of oil over moderate heat. Add the diced aubergine and cook for 8 to 10

minutes, or until soft and brown. With a slotted spoon, remove them from the pan and leave them to drain in a colander.

Dry them slightly on kitchen paper towels and set aside.

Pour the remaining oil into the frying-pan and add the celery and onions. Cook them for 8 minutes, or until they are lightly coloured. Pour in the tomato puree mixture and stir to coat the vegetables. Reduce the heat to low and simmer the mixture, covered, for 15 minutes.

Stir in the capers, olives, vinegar and sugar, mixing until all the ingredients are blended. Return the aubergine to the pan and coat thoroughly with the sauce. Cook the mixture over low heat for 20 minutes.

Remove the caponata from the heat and transfer it to a serving dish. Chill in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours, or until you are ready to serve.

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