jueves, 2 de diciembre de 2010

Caponata Charlotte for you, for me, but not for "Him"

OK, I admit it. Cooking for a vegetarian can be a little tricky sometimes, and it can become sort of a challenge, a quest. I don't know about the rest of the vegetarians, but "mine" is a bit special when it comes to vegetables. so, sometimes the challenge becomes an odyssey. I must confess that I totally used to rely on mushrooms to feed him, but that has changed as well, so, no more mushrooms from now on. Because of this, every time I find a lovely mouthwatering vegetarian recipe I try it, I observe and make up my mind. This is: I try it by cooking it for him, I observe him whilst eating it and depending on his reaction when tasting it, I make up my mind, so the recipe can be made again and again, or otherwise it's sent to the recycle bin. My post today is one of those mouthwatering ones, a caponata Charlotte with goats cheese, the star ingredient is the lovely aubergine, which is the reason why I never thought of cooking it for "Him", but when I saw the skilled Paul Gayler cooking it on tv, it was love at first sight. I had to cook this, even when I knew that my vegetarian wouldn't even smell it!                                                                                                                                                                                          

So, that's life! My post today is the ideal main course for a vegetarian, but not for mine. It's full of flavour with a huge mix of ingredients. Aubergine is the main one, for sure, but the goats cheese combines everything so elegantly that you can tell it comes from a 5 star restaurant, like the one that Paul Gayler is the head chef, the Lanesborough in Hyde Park, from where he has worked hard to become one of the most talented chefs in the UK. His gastronomic delicacies are an inspiration for every food lover, vegetarian or non vegetarian. And if you don't believe me, have a look at any of his amazing books.


2 medium aubergines
1 red onion, finely chopped
1 red pepper, finely chopped
1 yellow pepper, finely chopped
1 celery stick, finely chopped
1 small courgette, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves
3 or 4 slices dried apple, chopped
6 dried apricots, chopped
4 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons maple syrup
50 g sultanas
50g toasted pine nuts
Fresh thyme
2 tomatoes
4 individual goats cheeses
Olive oil
Salt and pepper

Soak the sultanas in the rum for a while, set aside. Turn the oven on and set the temperature to 180. Wash and cut an aubergine and a half, reserve the other half for the filling and slice the rest with the skin on, cut it in half and again into thin slices, lay them in a baking tray and brush them with olive oil, season with salt and pepper an bake for 10 minutes. Grease 4 individual ramekins.

For the caponata:

Crush one garlic clove and puree it with some salt with the back of the knife. Fry the onion and garlic in olive oil and cook for 2 minutes, add the rest of the vegetables and cook for 5 minutes. Add the dried fruit, cook for 2 more minutes. Add a drizzle of balsamic vinegar and maple syrup, and finally the sultanas and the pine nuts.
For the sauce:

Cut the tomato and blend it, place it in a saucepan and add the garlic clove and some fresh thyme and cook for five minutes, drain it and add some olive oil.

Line the ramekins with the slices of the aubergine making sure that they overlap. This prevents the filling to ooze out and the final presentation is beautiful. Place a couple of spoonfuls of the caponata and place them in the base of the ramekin, add the slice of cheese, (you can use mozzarella if goats cheese is not your cup of tea), and then top with more caponata, pushing down all the time. Fold over the aubergine and secure the filling. Push down again, and place the ramekins in the oven for 10-12 minutes. To serve, demold it and place on a plate, drizzle the dressing around it and decorate with tomato cubes and deep fried aubergine skin.

7 comentarios:

  1. What a delightful dish! I love that combination of ingredients.



  2. It's so true that just because people are vegetarian, they don't eat everything else. My parents for example are super conservative and I always have to modify or abandon favourite recipes. My Dad hates aubergines so this wouldn't be for him but it'll be just perfect for me!

  3. Ten ha quedao fantástica.
    Parece un pastel dulce por su forma.
    Besos y Feliz Navidad.

  4. Great Idea to use the Aubergines as the outer layer for the caponata. Although in Malta we do it differently. Nice shots too.

  5. Could this be made earlier in the day then heated at the final stage?