Source: The Working Family's Cookbook

Make caponata a few days ahead and let it mellow in the refrigerator.
Serves: 4 to 6
Prep Time: 35 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes


1/4 cup red wine vinegar
2 teaspoons tomato paste
1 tablespoon sugar
1/4 cup green olives, chopped and pitted
3 tablespoons raisins
1 tablespoon capers
1 large eggplant, (1 1/2 to 1 3/4 pounds), unpeeled, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
2 teaspoons coarse salt
7 tablespoons olive oil
3 medium-size stalks celery, finely chopped
1 medium-size red onion, coarsely chopped
salt, to taste
black pepper, to taste

Combine the vinegar, tomato paste, sugar, olives, raisins and capers and set aside.

Put the eggplant in a colander set over a bowl and toss with the coarse salt. Weight the eggplant and let drain for 30 minutes. Rinse and drain in the colander; pat dry.

Heat 3 tablespoons of the oil in a large, heavy frying pan over medium-high heat. Add half of the eggplant and cook for 8 to 10 minutes until tender and lightly browned. Remove to a bowl. Heat 3 more tablespoons of oil in the frying pan. Add the remaining eggplant and cook for 8 to 10 minutes until tender and lightly browned. Remove to the bowl. Season the eggplant with salt and pepper to taste.

Heat the remaining tablespoon of oil in the frying pan over low heat. Add the celery and onion and stir to coat with the oil. Add 1/2 cup water, cover and cook gently for about 15 minutes until the vegetables are tender. Remove the cover, raise the heat and boil for 3 to 4 minutes until the liquid evaporates and the vegetables brown slightly. Season with salt and pepper to taste and remove to the bowl with the eggplant.

Reduce the heat to low. Add the vinegar mixture and cook gently for 1 minute, scraping up the browned bits on the bottom of the pan. Add to the vegetables and stir gently to combine. Taste and adjust seasonings.