Caponata I

Caponata I Category Appetizers 
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Ingredients And Procedures
2poundeggplant, cut into 1-inch cubes
1/4cupextra virgin olive oil, more, if necessary
2eachgarlic cloves, mashed
1mdred onion, peeled cut in half, and sliced
2cupcelery, sliced
2cuptomatoes, ripe paste eg. Roma, chopped
3eachbay leaves, (or more) (break dried leaves in 2 or 3 pieces; finely chop leaves after, fresh removing petiole & midrib
2tablespoonred wine vinegar, or more to taste
2tablespooncapers, small or large ones chopped
1/2cuppitted kalamata olives, or other brine-cured olives coarsely chopped
1 pepper, freshly ground
1/4cupbasil, fresh sliced thinly at the last minute
3tablespoonpine nuts, toasted or chopped walnuts
1parsley, chopped fresh


Place the eggplant cubes in a colander and sprinkle them generously
with salt. Let stand at least 1/2 hour; rinse well under cold water,
drain, and pat dry with paper towels.

Heat 1/4 cup oil in a large heavy skillet over medium-high heat.
Gradually add the eggplant, stirring constantly. Add more oil as
needed to keep the eggplant from sticking.

As soon as all the eggplant is in the pan, gradually add the garlic,
onion and celery. Cook until hot through but not browned, keeping
the heat as high as possible. Stir in the tomatoes, bay leaves,
vinegar, capers, and olives. Mix well and lower the heat to simmer.
Cook for about 15 to 20 minutes, or until the eggplant is tender and
the flavor is well developed.

Season the caponata with salt, pepper, and additional vinegar as
needed. Add basil leaves, nuts, and parsley. Serve hot, at room
temperature, or chilled.

Variation: Add chopped anchovies, chunks of fish or shellfish, ham,
italian sausage, or other cooked meat to the vegetables in the last
few minutes of cooking time.

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