Talking Sofrito and The Mediterranean Diet
I was talking all things Sofrito and #themediterraneandiet in clinic this morning and so felt inspired to make a batch myself today.
Something magical happens when onions, garlic, tomatoes and capsicum combine with Extra Virgin Olive Oil (#EVOO) over a long, slow heat.
Research has shown that the slow-cooking process and pairing of EVOO with the core suite of vegetables (capsicum, tomato, onion and garlic) not only enhances the flavours but the nutritional benefit as well.
The foundational ingredients – capsicum, tomato, garlic and onion are rich sources of phytonutrients (especially carotenoid and polyphenol compounds).
These carotenoid and polyphenol compounds have beneficial anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. When heated with the oil, the bioavailability (the capacity for the body to access and utilise these compounds) is enhanced. It’s pure magic!
I have made a large quantity so this batch will be used and re-purposed over several meals. Tonight, the Sofrito will be stirred over pasta and I will keep another serve in the freezer to be converted into a chickpea shakshuka or with a side of scrambled eggs/ sourdough for an easy mid-week meal.
For more detail on this magical food chemistry, have a look at: https://www.mdpi.com/1420-3049/24/8/1555/htm
For My Sofrito Recipe…
2 large onions, diced
2 garlic cloves, finely diced
3 bay leaves
3 capsicums, deseeded and finely diced
1 medium – large eggplant, finely diced
1 zucchini, finely diced
400g tin tomatoes
¾ cup extra virgin olive oil
Salt (to taste)
Makes approximately 4 cups
Heat olive oil in a large heavy based pot over a medium heat and add the onions, garlic, bay leaves and salt to taste. Cook until the onions have softened (up to 10 minutes). Add the capsicum, zucchini and eggplant and cook for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Add the tin tomatoes and reduce the heat to a simmer and continue to cook for 1.5-2 hours. Stir occasionally throughout the cooking process until you arrive at a thick, jam-like consistency.
Season to taste.
Alternatively, once the tomatoes have been added, place in slow cooker for 3-6 hours. To reduce any excess liquid prior to eating, place on stove and cook uncovered, stirring occasionally, until you reach the desired consistency.
(adapted from Hetty McKinnon’s recipe for ‘Roasted Eggplant with Sofito’ in the book ‘Community’)