It was a cold March day. The wind was freezing, still holding onto winter, and for five days, the sun was playing hide and seek. My daughter was ill. I was stuck at home with some paprika, eggplant, and zucchini from a photo session – a bit wilted, but still ok to use. Not the most seasonal veggies for March, but if there is one thing I hate, it is throwing out food, so I had to make something. Caponata. Spicy, with a tiny Mexican twist (well, no). I baked some bread and that was it, the most delicious dinner ever, that day ;)
3 tbsp olive oil for cooking
200 g green pepper, small cubes
1 tsp finely chopped rosemary
1/2 tsp fennel seeds
a tiny bit of orange zest, finely grated
25 g peeled shallot, finely chopped
10 g cloves garlic, thinly sliced
50 g celery stalk, small cubes
250 g zucchini, small cubes
200g can crushed tomatoes
2 tbsp sultanas
2 anchovies, rinsed and chopped
20 g jalapeño pepper, finely chopped
20 g pine nuts
2 tbsp chopped basil – including the stalks if they aren’t woody
2 tbsp chopped fresh peppermint
freshly ground pepper
Heat two pans over medium heat. Add two teaspoons olive oil to each.
When the oil is hot, add the chopped pepper, rosemary, fennel seeds, and orange zest in one pan (add some salt too), and the celery, onion, garlic, and zucchini in the other. Sauté on medium-low heat for 15 minutes, stirring both occasionally so they don't stick and burn.
Once the vegetables are done, add tomatoes, sultanas, anchovies, jalapeños, pine nuts, basil, and salt (remember, anchovies are salty, too). Cover and let simmer for 20 minutes on very low heat. It has to be thick but still juicy. When it's done, add peppermint, pepper, and more salt if needed. Mix and serve hot or cold on freshly-grilled bread.
Recipe and pictures: Signe Meirane
Camera: Sony Alpha 7s