Summers arrived, so today we're going to let you relax with my easy yet delicious Caponata and Sea Bass!

Caponata is a Sicilian stew, which makes a delicious alternative to standard vegetable sides. It’s often made a day in advance so the flavours have time to develop, and it’s served at room temperature. So all you have to do on the day is pan-fry some fillets of fish to place artfully on top of the caponata. 

This recipe can easily be doubled up (though the aubergine may need cooking in batches)—heap the leftovers on crusty bread and crumble some feta on top for a delicious lunch the following day. 

 

Ingredients

Serves 4

  • 40ml red-wine vinegar
  • 40g caster sugar
  • 1tbsps sultanas
  • 4tbsps olive oil
  • 2 aubergines, cut into chunks
  • 1 onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 sticks of celery, sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 4 plum tomatoes, roughly chopped
  • 2tbsps green pitted olives
  • 1tbsp capers
  • 1tsp dried oregano
  • 50ml water
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Olive oil
  • Baking parchment
  • 4 boneless sea-bass fillets

 

Method

  1. Mix the red-wine vinegar and sugar in a small saucepan and heat until the sugar has dissolved. Add the sultanas. 
  2. Heat the olive oil in a pan and fry the aubergine for 6–8 minutes, until golden. Remove the chunks from the pan and leave them to soak on kitchen paper.
  3. Cook the celery and onion in the pan on a gentle heat for 6–8 minutes until they’ve softened, but not coloured. Add the garlic and cook for a minute.
  4. Return the aubergine to the pan. Add the vinegar mix, tomatoes, olives, capers, oregano and water.
  5. Bring to the boil. Cover and simmer for 12–15 minutes. Remove from the heat and allow to cool.
  6. Drizzle a little olive oil over the sea-bass fillets, and season with salt and pepper.
  7. Put a splash of olive oil in a frying pan and place a sheet of parchment on it. Put a dash more oil on the paper and lay the fillets on skin-side down. Fry for 5 minutes, or until the side of the fillets have turned opaque white. Flip and cook for another 2 minutes.
  8. Divide the caponata between four plates and lay a sea-bass fillet on top.

 

Try this...

  • A good alternative to the sea bass is sea bream.
  • You could even try grilled lamb chops too—meat goes well with caponata and is perfect as a delicious side dish for a BBQ.

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