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Eggplant Caponata

A spiky, sweet-and-sour combination of eggplant, celery, onions, capers, and olives.

Ingredients

  • 1 large eggplant
  • Olive oil
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 ribs celery, chopped
  • 1 bulb fennel, cored and chopped
  • 1 Tbs tomato paste
  • 2 Tbs capers
  • 1 cup pitted green olives Note: I didn't have these, but they're kind of important.
  • 3 Tbs sugar
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • Chopped parsley, celery leaves, and fennel fronds

Instructions

  • Cube the eggplant and start heating 1/4 cup olive oil in a large metal skillet.
  • Add the first batch of eggplant; giving the eggplant enough room so every piece is touching the bottom of the pan. Leave alone and let fry for a minute then shake the pan. If the eggplant detaches, you're ready to flip. If it doesn't, keep going. Fry the eggplant on all sides (but don't add more oil here or it'll be greasy) until golden brown, then set aside, and continue with the rest of the eggplant, adding another 1/4 cup oil with each new batch. Season the eggplant, once cooked, with kosher salt.
  • Add another 1/4 cup oil to the now-empty skillet. Add the onions, celery, and fennel with a pinch of salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables start to brown. Might take up to ten minutes.
  • Add the tomato paste, stir around, and let toast for a minute. Then add the capers, the olives, the sugar, the red wine vinegar, and the white wine. Stir all around, working up any brown bits on the bottom of the pan, and allow to simmer on medium heat for a minute or two.
  • Add all of the eggplant back in, stir all around, simmer another minute until most of the liquid is gone, then turn off the heat. Add the chopped herbs, stir together, and allow the caponata to sit for an hour before serving.