- 1 globe eggplant or 4 Japanese eggplants diced
- 4 Tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 1 small onion, minced
- 1 celery stalk, minced
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 4-6 plum tomatoes, finely chopped
- 1/2 cup pitted green olives, finely chopped
- 1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted
- 2 to 3 Tbsp small capers, drained
- 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
- 2 to 3 Tablespoons sugar
- 1 Tablespoon tomato paste
- 1/4 cup chopped basil
2. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and celery, season with salt. Cook, stirring occasionally until the onion begins to soften - about 5 minutes. Add the garlic. Cook 1-2 minutes more. Remove from the skillet and set aside.
3. Wipe the pan with a paper towel, turn the heat to high and add the remaining olive oil. Let this heat until the oil is nearly smoking. Add the eggplant and spread it out in as thin a layer as you can in the skillet. Let this sizzle for 1-2 minutes before stirring, then let it sit for a full minute before stirring again. Cook like this for 5-6 minutes.
4. Add the onion-celery mixture, the tomatoes, olives, pine nuts, capers and red pepper flakes. Stir well. Add the vinegar, sugar and tomato paste and stir once more. Cook, stirring occasionally until eggplant is very soft, about 8 minutes.
5. Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature. Mix in the basil. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Caponata can be refrigerated, covered, up to 5 days.
Serve with sliced and toasted baguettes