f course it is widely acknowledged that a Mediterranean tomato, for instance, tastes much better than a greenhouse tomato from central Europe. This applies not only to tomatoes but many different varieties of vegetables. And the produce from the fields of Ibiza is no different. Both the soil and climate of Ibiza are the perfect catalysts for growing great flavorsome ingredients.
I use two farms on Ibiza for my produce to provide both vegetables and meats for the Sid Shanti catering business, which has now moved to it’s new home with bespoke kitchen and tasting area at Calle Abad I Lasierra 56 in Ibiza town.
This month I am featuring the first of my farms: Sa Finca. Set in the center of the island, Sa Finca is one of the larger farms on Ibiza and they produce an array of vegetables and fruits all year round. They encourage organic methods of farming and actively use beneficial insects as opposed to pesticides as part of their farming production and pest control. They grow a varied larder of ingredients and sell direct to the public at their farm shop on the Carretera San Jose, just before Can Bellotera.
In the winter season radishes, Brussel sprouts, cabbage, peas, broad beans, cauliflower, sweet potato and broccoli reign. In the summer tomatoes, celery, lettuce, cucumber, cherries, almonds, aubergines, peaches, grapes, oranges, fresh herbs, pears, watermelon and the best rocket on the island are amongst their bounty.
Buying local ingredients has many benefits, it reduces the carbon footprint of the food you produce and eat. It means the Ingredients are as fresh as possible, therefore having maximum nutritional content. It also supports the local economy, especially the local farmers. With globalization so apparent in modern society it is more important than ever to actively support local business and especially local farmers to ensure that for future generations old traditions and methods are not lost to corporate sentiment and greedy companies exploiting our food chain.
I have decided to make an Ibiza variation of the classic Sicilian Caponata dish for this issue, using both island olives for bitterness and almonds for crunch.
This dish is a perfect side dish to fish or meat of any kind, although I like to keep it in the fridge and scrape lumps with chunky bits of ‘payes’ bread as a quick and delicious vegetarian snack.
Ingredients (serves 6)
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Sea salt from Ibiza
- Ground black pepper
- 2 x large aubergines, cut into thumb size pieces
- 1 x sweet Spanish onion, peeled and finely chopped
- 2 x cloves garlic, peeled, finely sliced
- 4 x large buffalo tomatoes, de-cored and roughly chopped
- 1 x tablespoon salted capers, washed and drained
- 2 x tablespoons, Ibiza green ‘Payes’ olives, pitted
- 1 x teaspoon dried Oregano
- 1 x small bunch of flat leaf parsley, stalks and leaves finely chopped
- 3 x tablespoons of good quality herb vinegar
- 1 x palm full of Ibiza almonds, toasted and broken with the back of a knife.
- Put a large frying pan on a medium heat. Add a good amount of olive oil. Add the aubergine and move continuously to coat all the sides in oil.
- Fry this for around 5-6 minutes until golden on all sides.
- Add some more olive oil along with the onion, garlic, oregano and parsley. Cook all together for another 2-3 minutes, giving a couple of stirs in between.
- Add the capers and olives and then the vinegar.
- When the vinegar has evaporated (don’t breathe!) add the tomatoes, turn the heat down and put a lid on for 5 minutes then lid off and simmer for another 10-12 minutes, or until all the ingredients are soft.
- Add sea salt and ground black pepper to your required taste.
- Serve with sprinkled toasted cracked almonds on top and a nice chunk of local ‘payes’ bread!
Sa Finca ShopCtra Sant josep, km 1,100
07817 Sant Jordi de ses Salines