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This is the Italian version of ratatouille and at least as good when made properly. This can be made and stored in the fridge for several days and just gets better with time. This is my version which brings rave reviews every time I serve it.
 
 

Caponata
 
  • 1 medium eggplant (approximately ¾ lb.)
  • 4 stalks of celery
  • 1 medium sweet onion
  • 1-15 ounce can small diced tomatoes (well drained of juice)
  • 1 Tbs capers
  • 1-2 Tbs vinager
  • ¼- ½ cup green olives stuffed with pimento
  • 1 Tbs sugar
 
  1. Peel and cube the eggplant into approximately a ½ inch dice. Fry in olive oil over high heat stirring often until brown and cooked. Set aside.   
  2. Cut the celery into small dice and cook with a little water in microwave until cooked but still quite crunchy. Don’t overcook. The crunchy texture is very important. Set aside.
  3. Chop onion into small cubes (about ¼ inch) and fry in olive oil until soft and beginning to brown. Set aside
  4. Chop olives so that the pieces are of similar size to the celery and eggplant.
  5. If you have the time, fry the drained tomatoes in a little olive oil until all the remaining liquid is gone and they are just beginning to brown.
  6. Mix all the cooked vegetables together and add the tomato, the sugar and the vinegar. Cook together for 5 minutes until everything is blended.
  7. Remove from heat and add capers and olives.
  8. Add salt to taste and check for seasoning. You may want it a little more sweet or sour. But the tastes really meld together after the caponata sits for at least a day. I keep it at room temperature for a few hours and then refrigerate. Check the next day and adjust the seasoning.
 
Serve caponata as an appetizer with thin slices of bagette or as a side salad to a summer meal.
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