Now that the Christmas party season is technically upon us, I find it difficult to come up with new and exciting food ideas for guests and visitors, but this one should be a winner every time, and is a lot more interesting that vol au vents or canapés! I find this works best served at room temperature on small pieces of toasted bruschetta with lots of fresh herbs on top.
2 large aubergines, cut into 1cm cubes
2 small celery stalks, finely diced with the leaves
4 tbs extra virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 tin good quality plum tomatoes
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
A small handful of sultanas
A small handful of green olives, thinly sliced
2 tbs balsamic vinegar
1 tbs Demerara sugar
Handful chopped parsley
Salt and pepper
For the Bruschetta;
1 large French stick, cut at 45 degrees into 12 slices
1 clove of garlic, halved
1 tsp sea salt
1. Place the aubergine cubes in a colander and sprinkle generously with salt and toss together. Leave for one hour to bring out the juices then rinse thoroughly and drain.
2. In a large saucepan, heat half the olive oil and gently sauté the celery, onion and garlic until soft but not browned.
3. Add the tin of tomatoes, including juice and simmer to reduce for 10 minutes.
4. Add the sugar, balsamic vinegar, sultanas and olives and simmer for a further 10 minutes, then take off the heat.
5. In a separate frying pan, add the remaining olive oil and fry the aubergine cubes until tender.
6. Add all the ingredients together and simmer for a final 10 minutes. Season to taste.
7. Allow to cool and stir through half of the chopped parsley.
8. Lightly toast the French stick slices under the grill for 2 minutes, turning once. Rub the halved garlic clove over the toasted slices, sprinkle with a pinch of sea salt and a final drizzle of olive oil.
9. Add a generous portion of the caponata mixture, top with the remaining chopped parsley, and serve.