Eggplant Caponata

This is one of my favorite ways to cook eggplant. It’s a fabulous sweet-and sour dish that is great served hot as a side dish, but my favorite way to eat it is at room temperature (or a little warm) with some really good crusty bread.

Eggplant Caponata
Everyday Italian, Giada De Laurentiis

1/4 cup olive oil
1 celery stalk, chopped
1 medium eggplant, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 medium onion, chopped
1 red bell pepper, cored, seeded, and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 (14 1/2-ounce) can diced tomatoes with juices
3 tablespoons raisins
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano leaves
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
4 teaspoons sugar
1 tablespoon drained capers
1/2 teaspoons salt, plus more to taste
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste
Fresh basil leaves for garnish, optional

In a large, heavy skillet, heat the oil over a medium flame. Add the celery and saute until crisp-tender, about 2 minutes. Add the eggplant and saute until beginning to soften, about 2 minutes. Add the onion and saute until translucent, about 3 minutes. Add the red pepper and cook until crisp-tender, about 5 minutes. Add the diced tomatoes with their juices, raisins, and oregano. Simmer over medium-low heat until the flavors blend and the mixture thickens, stirring often, about 20 minutes. Stir in the vinegar, sugar, capers, and 1/2 teaspoon each of salt and pepper. Season with more salt and pepper to taste. Transfer the caponata to a bowl, garnish with the basil leaves, and serve.

6 side-dish servings (will serve more as an appetizer)

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