Yield: 3 cups
1 pound eggplant (~1 medium eggplant), peeled, and diced into 1/2” cubes
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
5 tablespoons olive oil, divided
8 ounces yellow onion (~1 medium onion), finely chopped
2 ribs celery, finely chopped
3 tablespoons tomato paste
1 pound Roma tomatoes (~4-5 tomatoes), peeled*, seeded, and finely chopped (alternatively, you can use canned whole, peeled tomatoes that have been drained)
3 tablespoons red or white wine vinegar
2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons capers, drained and rinsed
3 tablespoons chopped pitted green olives
Salt and black pepper, to taste
2 tablespoons pine nuts, toasted (optional, for garnish)
Handful fresh basil, chopped, for garnish
1. Line a large plate with paper towel.
2. In large sauté pan, heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil over medium-high heat. Add eggplant with salt to pan. Sauté until eggplant is softened and caramelized, about 7-9 minutes. Transfer eggplant to paper towel-lined plate. Set aside.
3. To same pan, add remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Add onions and celery to pan with a pinch of salt. Cook onions and celery over medium heat until softened, about 5 minutes.
4. Add tomato paste to onions and celery in the pan and stir until well coated.
5. Add chopped tomatoes, vinegar, and honey to pan. Reduce heat to low and simmer about 5-7 minutes. Add eggplant back to pan and continue to simmer another 5 minutes, until mixture thickens to a “jammy” consistency. Stir in capers and olives.
6. Add salt and pepper, to taste. Garnish with toasted pine nuts and basil.
Serving Suggestion: Spread ricotta cheese on a toasted baguette slice and top with a spoonful of caponata!
*To easily peel the tomatoes, you can quickly blanch them in boiling water and then shock them in an ice bath. Before placing in the boiling water, score the bottoms of the tomatoes. You know they are ready to come out of the boiling water once the skins start peeling away from the scored end.