21 March 2020


2 onion

2 cloves of garlic

1 child (optional)

2 stick of celery 

3 small to medium carrots

3 courgettes (romaneschi)

1 red and 1 yellow pepper

150g of French beans

150g of corallo or runner beans

Capers (left in water to soak)

Dash of white wine vinegar



one of the following: basil, mint, thyme or oregano

Caponata di verdura

I call this a caponata and it is - loosely. But I keep it fresh and use as little oil as possible and no deep fat frying. There is no aubergine in this version as I feel it makes the dish lose its crunch and sharpness. This appears in my cooking in many different forms. It’s very simple. But requires attention to detail and it’s delicious.

What's more it can turn into a modern interpretation of one of my favourite all time salads the Insalata Russa. 


It takes time to prepare the vegetables in this way. But once made it keeps as a salad for several days


It should be served at room temperature or slightly warmed. It’s a recipe where you can make do with what you have, this does not mean however that the products should be inferior. You are looking to cut each vegetable into a small neat dice of the same size., so they cook evenly. 


Roast the peppers in the oven for thirty to forty minutes or until the skins are blistered. Once cooked place in a container, seal and leave to cool. (The pepper steam in their own heat, so are easier to peel). 

Wash and tail the beans (leave the tops as they are the most tender part) then blanch the beans until they are al dente. Drain and shock them in iced water. 

Remove the stringy part which runs down both sides of the corallo bean. Cut the beans into thin slices on the diagonal then blanch and also shock these in iced water. 

Drain both types of bean as soon as they are cool, leaving them in a colander so that any excess water runs off.

Peel the peppers, remove any seeds and lay them out flat on a chopping board. Slice them into thin strips and then turn the strips and cut again into a small dice.

Peel and chop the onion into fine dice. Peel the rough strands from the celery and the tough skin on the inside and chop into a dice the same size as the onion. Peel and prepare the carrot in the same way. Wash and cut the courgettes and again cut to the same size.

Place peeled cloves of garlic in a large frying pan with the right amount of extra virgin olive oil to just cover the bottom of the pan. Heat the oil on a moderate setting until the garlic begins to fry. 

Add the onions, stir them in and season with a bit of salt. After about 5 minutes when the onions are translucent add the celery and a couple of minutes after that the carrots. Fry on a high heat without allowing anything to brown.

When the vegetables are cooked but still al dente, remove the pan from the heat and scrape them out onto a perforated tray set over another tray, to allow the oil to drain away. 

Fish out the garlic and the chilli and replace them in the same pan with some more olive oil.

Warm it through then add the chopped courgettes and flash fry these in the same way as you did the other vegetables. Place the courgettes with the other vegetables to drain.

Chop the French beans into small pieces.

Bring all the vegetables together in a large bowl and mix them together so their flavours combine.


Add the capers, the herb that you want to use and check the seasoning. Splash some white wine vinegar over and mix again before checking the seasoning for the last time. 

Caponata di verdura