Author Notes: Pure Sicilian sunshine in a jar, this is a Catanese-style version of the sweet and sour Sicilian classic. The secret is the agrodolce flavour of the vinegar and sugar, which lift this from being plain old ratatouille into something really special. It’s a pretty fluid recipe, so if you fancy swapping the vegetables about or messing with quantities then go for your life. (I pretty much always do …) —QuasiSiciliana
Makes: 1 – 1 1/2 litres
red peppers (combined, roughly the same weight as the aubergine)
stalks of celery
salted capers (big fat ones)
whole green olives
milliliters balsamic vinegar
- Put the capers in a bowl, cover them with water and leave them to soak.
- Dice the aubergines and peppers into bite-sized chunks. Slice the celery and onion thinly, and dice the tomatoes.
- Soften and brown first the aubergines, then the red peppers, then the celery in olive oil. Use the same pan and remove each vegetable to a large bowl when done. Top up with a splash more olive oil between each one if necessary.
- In the same pan, sweat the onions until golden.
- Add the tomatoes to the onions and cook until the juices have reduced.
- Drain the capers. Rinse and drain again. Add to the the tomatoes and onions, along with the whole olives (if you prefer not to have olive stones in the final dish, sliver the flesh from the stones before adding to the pan). Cook for a couple more minutes, then remove to the bowl with the other vegetables.
- To make your agrodolce sauce, slosh the balsamic vinegar into the pan in which you’ve cooked all the veg, turn up the heat and boil vigorously, scraping up any caramelised veg bits as you do so.
- Add the sugar and cook until it has dissolved and the vinegar has reduced to almost nothing.
- Turn off the heat, scoop the veg into the agrodolce sauce and stir to combine.
- Cool completely before putting into glass jars for storage.