140 mlolive oil1onion, finely chopped2inner white celery stalks, stems cut into 1cm dice, leaves torn1firm William pear, cored and diced2 tbspwhite wine vinegar1 tspcaster sugar½ tspground cinnamon2eggplant, cut into 2cm dice2vine-ripened tomatoes, scored, blanched, peeled, seeded, cut into 1cm dice30 gmsalted baby capers, rinsed and drained100 gmpitted Sicilian green olivesTo serve:crostiniMushrooms with basil and ricotta salata700 mlwhite wine vinegar1lemon, halved4garlic cloves, finely chopped1fresh bay leaf500 gmfield or pine mushrooms2 tbspolive oilTo serve:torn basil and finely grated ricotta salata (see note)
Heat 2 tbsp olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and celery (reserve leaves), stir occasionally until tender (4-5 minutes). Add pear, stir occasionally until tender but still holding shape (3-4 minutes). Add vinegar, sugar and cinnamon, stir until sugar dissolves, season and set aside.
Heat 50ml olive oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat, add half the eggplant, cook until golden (6-8 minutes), add to celery mixture and set aside. Repeat with remaining oil and eggplant. Add tomato to pan and cook until tender (4-5 minutes). Add capers and olives, then add to eggplant and celery mixture. Season to taste, adjust vinegar and sugar to taste and cool to room temperature. Capunata will keep refrigerated for 5 days. Bring to room temperature to serve.
For mushrooms with basil and ricotta salata, bring vinegar, lemon, garlic, bay leaf and 3 litres water to the boil, then reduce heat to low and season to taste. Add mushrooms, increase heat to high and return to the boil. Strain (discard liquid), pat dry on absorbent paper, coarsely chop and set aside. Heat olive oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat, add mushrooms, stir occasionally until golden (3-4 minutes) and season to taste. Serve hot with basil and ricotta salata, with capunata and crostini passed separately.
Note Ricotta salata, a salted, pressed and dried form of
ricotta, is available from selected delicatessens.
This recipe is from the May 2011 issue of Australian Gourmet