I’ve tried many different versions of this Sicilian dish but this is inspired by a recipe I picked up years ago from Rick Stein’s Mediterranean cook book. I’ve tweaked it to my own taste but the main flavour profile here is sweet, sour and salty. It goes well with meat and fish but can be served as part of a tapas/mezze meal at room temperature. It’s also delicious with pasta or rice as a vegetarian/vegan main course. It’s a sizeable quantity that can easily be halved.
(serves 6-8 as a side dish)
1 large/2 small cloves garlic, grated
1 onion, chopped
2 tablespoons tomato paste
400g chopped, tinned tomatoes
½ cup sultanas
1 heaped tablespoon sliced green olives
1 tablespoon capers
½ teaspoon dried oregano
¼ teaspoon fennel seeds
½ tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
Few torn basil leaves
¼ cup chopped parsley
Salt & pepper
Heat some olive oil in a large pot then add chopped aubergine (fairly large chunks) and onion. Fry on a fairly high heat to caramelise the aubergines then turn the heat to low.
Stir in the garlic to gently cook it out then add the tomato paste, stirring to cook that out as well. Add the tinned tomatoes, sultanas, olives, capers, oregano, fennel seeds, salt and pepper then turn the heat up to medium to bring the sauce to a gentle boil.
Stir well then turn the heat down to bring the sauce to a low simmer. Partially cover the pot and gently simmer for one hour, stirring occasionally.
Once the hour has passed, stir in the vinegar and sugar then check the seasoning. The sauce should be sweet, salty and sour. Add more salt, pepper, sugar or vinegar if necessary. Add the fresh herbs then serve hot or at room temperature with a glug of good quality olive oil.