This one pot aubergine and polenta meal is another quick and easy dish; ideal for a tasty midweek treat and fully of lovely veggies as well as some great gluten free carbs. Start by frying 1 large chopped onion for 3 -4 minutes in a large pan, then add 1 chopped aubergine, a sprinkle of salt and some rosemary (you will notice how much I love rosemary as the blog posts continue!) then continue to fry for another 5 minutes. I really enjoy eating and cooking with aubergines. Aubergines are really low in calorie and a filling addition to a lot of meals. They are also really versatile and go really well with Mediterranean, Asian and middle eastern flavours which means they work well in a lot of my favourite meals! Aubergines are also high in dietary fibre, vitamins B1 and B6 and minerals making them another one of the super vegetables I enjoy so much.
As the aubergines start to brown and soften add 4 roughly chopped vine tomatoes and continue on the heat for another 5 minutes. One of the great things about this meal is that you don’t have to chop finely at all as a caponata is a really rustic Italian stew and the tomatoes, aubergine and onion will all shrink down and integrate taking on loads of flavour as they do.
To give this dish a real dose of the Mediterranean I add a dessert spoon of capers and allow them to sizzle with the other veggies for another 5 minutes. Capers are a really tasty ingredient, although the pickling and production methods do make them higher in sodium due to the added salt so you do have to be careful with quantities. On the other side of the caper coin they do however have great antioxidant properties containing rutin and quercetin which have great healing properties.
At this point the caponata is nearly ready… nearly… not long now… to save on washing up (a key priority of mine) I actually at this point put the caponata to one side in a separate dish and use the same pan to cook the polenta. Polenta is a great addition to a coeliac diet, or in fact any diet as it is made out of maize or cornmeal and is really filling. Polenta is an easy ingredient to make from scratch but I often use ready made polenta as it is so readily available and predominantly ethical (as with Arborio rice in previous blog posts polenta sold in the UK is as far as I have found produced in Italy and should be covered by EU regulation on employment and environmental laws). I cut the ready made polenta into slices about 1.5cm thick and then lightly fry on each side for a couple of minutes until golden and soft. I then dish up the polenta and pop the caponata back into the same pan again.
At this point I then add handfuls of chopped spinach to the caponata and allow it to wilt stirring through the caponata. Once the superfood spinach is wilted it is time to dish up and get stuck in, I often eat this with a drizzle of balsamic to season as it sets the taste off beautifully!