(Serves 4 - 6)
4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
3-1/2 cups (1/2-inch dice) unpeeled eggplant
3/4 cup chopped red onion
1/3 cup chopped celery
1/3 cup chopped pitted green olives
3 tablespoons chopped capers
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1-1/2 tablespoons sugar, or to taste
3 tablespoons raisins
3 tablespoons pine nuts, toasted lightly
3 plum tomatoes, cut into 1/2-inch dice (about 1 cup)
1/4 cup finely chopped flat-leafed parsley leaves
Salt and pepper
In a large skillet heat 2 tablespoons of the oil over medium- high heat.
Cook the eggplant, stirring, for 3 to 5 minutes, or until it is tender.
Transfer it to a bowl.
Add the remaining 2 tablespoons oil. Cook the onion and the celery over medium heat, stirring, for 5 minutes.
Add the olives, capers, vinegar, sugar, raisins, pine nuts, and tomatoes.
Cook the mixture, covered, stirring occasionally, for 5 to 10 minutes, until the onions and celery are tender. Add the mixture to the bowl with the eggplant.
Cool to room temperature, and then refrigerate, covered, overnight.
Stir in the parsley and season the caponata with salt and pepper.
This classic Sicilian sweet and sour eggplant dish is a cooked vegetable salad made from diced eggplant, celery, onions, olives, capers, raisins, pine nuts, and tomatoes seasoned with vinegar and sugar. Serve it as a side dish to meat or fish or as an appetizer with bread or polenta. Caponata keeps well in the refrigerator for about 5 days and it gets even better after a few days when the flavors have time to meld. Bring the caponata to room temperature before serving for full flavor.
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