Sicilian caponata filo pie
2 chopped aubergines 2tspn dried oregano 2 chopped red onions 2 crushed garlic cloves 1 chopped stick celery A handful fresh torn basil 1 can tomatoes 50g toasted pine nuts 50g capers 2tbspn red-wine vinegar Zest of 1 lemon, plus a little
juice 6 sheets filo pastry 50g melted butter
Fresh rocket to serve
Preheat your oven to 200˚C/400˚f/gas mark 6. Arrange the chunks of aubergine on a baking tray with a drizzle of olive oil and a scattering of oregano, then roast for about 25 minutes or until completely cooked—i find that roasting prevents the aubergine from becoming greasy.
In a large saucepan, fry the red onions in a splash of olive oil until soft. Stir in the garlic, celery, basil and tomatoes and simmer gently for about 5 minutes.
Once cooked, add the aubergine to the pan with the toasted pine nuts, capers and red-wine vinegar and mix well (it’s the vinegar that gives a caponata its distinctive, sweet-and-sour flavour). Finally, add the lemon zest and a little juice to taste, plus a splash of water to loosen everything if needed.
Spoon the caponata into an ovenproof dish—or divide between individual dishes—and top with scrunched-up sheets of buttered filo pastry, ensuring that the surface of the pie is entirely covered. Bake in the oven for about 30 minutes—the filo should be lightly browned. Serve the caponata pie with fresh rocket and a glass of Chianti.
‘ The aubergines in my greenhouse are now small but perfectly formed, with glossy, purple skins. In Sicily, they’re called “poor man’s steak” and are, indeed, a fitting substitute for meat in these recipes’