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Caponata: Eggplant, Tomato, and Raisin Relish

Copyright © 2014 by Carla Hall from CARLA'S COMFORT FOODS published by

Atria Books, a division of Simon & Schuster, Inc.

1 large globe eggplant, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch chunks

Kosher salt
3 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, diced 2 garlic cloves, minced 4 plum tomatoes, diced
1 sprig fresh oregano
3 large celery ribs, diced
2 tablespoons pine nuts, toasted
2 tablespoons golden raisins
2 tablespoons capers, rinsed and drained
5 green olives, pitted and cut into thin slivers
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
2 teaspoons sugar
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves

Four servings. Serve cold or warm, with fish or crusty Italian bread.

1. Toss the eggplant with 1 teaspoon salt and let it sit in a colander to drain
while the other vegeta- bles cook, about 20 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a large skillet over medium-high
heat. Add the onion and 1/2 teaspoon salt and cook, stirring, until
the onion is a little tender and lightly browned, about 3 minutes. Add the
garlic and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. Add the tomatoes and oregano and stir
well. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer and cook until thick and
pasty, about 30 minutes.
3. While the tomatoes simmer, toss the celery with the 1 teaspoon oil. Heat
another skillet over high heat. Add the celery and 1/4 teaspoon salt, and
spread out in a single layer. Cook, tossing, until translucent, about 4 minutes.
Transfer to a plate and spread out to stop the cooking.
4. Squeeze the eggplant dry between paper towels, and then toss it with the
remaining 1 tablespoon oil. Add some of the eggplant to the same hot skillet
in a single layer. Cook, tossing occasionally, until browned, about 2 minutes.
Transfer it to a plate and repeat with the remaining eggplant, working in
5. Stir the celery, eggplant, pine nuts, raisins, capers, olives, vinegar, sugar,
and parsley into the tomatoes. Discard the oregano sprig. Serve im-
immediately or refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 1 week.

Carlas’ Tips
• Salting the eggplant first draws out its moisture, which helps it brown in
the skillet. It also removes any bitterness.
• Is it worth getting an extra skillet dirty just to sauté the celery and
eggplant? Absolutely. A quick sauté takes off the raw edge of the
celery, but keeps it crisp in the relish; the hot skillet also browns the
eggplant, preventing it from turning to mush in the tomatoes.