Who doesn’t love Italian food? It is simple and versatile while relying on the use of good quality ingredients. Tomatoes are fresh, garlic is compulsory and there is no fear in adding glugs of good olive oil to the pan! And Berlin is in no short supply of Italian food. Delicatessens such as Salumeria da Pino offer a selection of fresh pastas, olives, wine and cheese for those wanting to pick up quality ingredients to take home. A favourite place of mine to eat out in Berlin is Donath’s on Schwedter Straße. A laid-back restaurant with the varied menu written on the wall: they serve up pasta dishes, good quality fish and a selection of delicious cheeses.
It was at Donath’s that I had the best Caponata. A Sicilian vegetable stew that is perfect as a main vegetarian dish or served on the side with some grilled fish. I cook this with plenty of olive oil and fresh vegetables and serve with some griddled ciabatta slices on the side to soak up all the juices!
3 tomatoes (roughly chopped)
1 red pepper (sliced)
1 yellow pepper (sliced)
2 tbpsn capers
Handful of green olives
Juice of half a lemon
2 aubergines (chopped into chunks)
1 tbpsn tomato puree
3 cloves garlic (crushed)
3 celery sticks (finely chopped)
1 red onion (peeled and finely chopped)
Half a ciabatta (cut into slices)
1 red chilli (finely chopped)
1 tbpsn red wine vinegar
In a large pan heat 1 tbpsn olive oil. Add the garlic and onions with a pinch of salt and cook on a medium heat.
After a few minutes add the aubergines and a large glug of oil. Mix the aubergines well. They will quickly soak up the oil so after a couple of minutes add another glug of olive oil.
Add the peppers and celery to the pan. Leave for a couple of minutes and then add the tomatoes. Stir in the tomato puree, vinegar and lemon juice. Add the capers and olives and turn to the pan up to a medium – high heat. Leave this to simmer gently until the juices have boiled down. You will need to stir the pan regularly.
In the meantime heat up a griddle pan. Once hot add the ciabatta slices and cook on each side for around 3 minutes.
Take the pan off the heat and stir in a handful of fresh basil. Mix well and season with some black pepper and fresh basil.
Serve up with the ciabatta.