Caponata (Sicilian Sweet-Sour Vegetables)

This recipe is an adaptation of one in Cucina del Sole: A Celebration of Southern Italian Cooking by Nancy Harmon Jenkins (Morrow, 2007).

Sicilian Caponata
This recipe is an adaptation of one in <em>Cucina del Sole: A Celebration of Southern Italian Cooking</em> by Nancy Harmon Jenkins.
Yield: serves 6
Time: 1 hour, 40 minutes

Ingredients

  • 2 eggplants (about 2 lbs.), cut into 1⁄2" cubes
  • Salt
  • 10 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 large yellow onion, coarsely chopped
  • 1 anchovy filet, chopped
  • 3 ripe medium tomatoes (about 1 lb.), cored, peeled, and coarsely chopped
  • 2 ribs celery, thinly sliced crosswise
  • 14 cup red wine vinegar
  • 2 tbsp. sugar
  • 2 tbsp. tomato paste, preferably Maria Grammatico brand
  • 2 tbsp. golden raisins
  • 2 tbsp. pine nuts
  • 2 tbsp. capers, rinsed
  • 12 pitted green olives, such as cerignola, coarsely chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, roasted, peeled, cored, seeded, and thinly sliced
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tbsp. coarsely chopped basil
  • 2 tbsp. coarsely chopped flat-leaf parsley

Instructions

  1. Put eggplant into a colander set over a large bowl; toss with 1 tbsp. salt. Top with a plate weighted down with several large cans; let drain for 1 hour. Rinse eggplant and pat dry with paper towels. Heat 2 tbsp. oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add one-third of the eggplant and cook until golden brown, 7–8 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer eggplant to a bowl. Repeat with oil and remaining eggplant.
  2. Reduce heat to medium-low and add remaining oil, onions, and anchovies; cook until soft, 14–15 minutes. Add tomatoes and celery and increase heat to medium; cook until tomatoes release their juices, 5–6 minutes. Add vinegar, sugar, and tomato paste; cook until thickened, 3–4 minutes. Add cooked eggplant, raisins, pine nuts, capers, olives, roasted peppers, and salt and pepper to taste. Cook until hot. Transfer to a plate; let cool slightly. Top with basil and parsley. Serve at room temperature.