This stunningly delicious dish is the Sicilian version of French Ratatouille. The recipe is adapted from SeriousEats.com and New York Time's food writer, David Bittman. Serve on baguette, crackers, or noodles. It's even better having sat a few hour or overnight.
Recipe type: Vegetable
- Enough olive oil to deep fry
- 2 lbs. eggplant, cut into 1″ cubes
- 1 large yellow or sweet-variety onion, chopped medium-small
- 1 to 2 celery ribs, thinly sliced
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 3 Tbs. tomato paste
- 1⁄4 cup water
- 1 cup crushed canned tomatoes (or use fresh, see directions up top)
- 6 oz. (about 1 cup) green olives, pitted and roughly chopped
- 1⁄2 cup white wine vinegar
- 1⁄2 cup golden raisins (I used half for a less sweet caponata)
- 1⁄4 cup salt-packed capers, rinsed and drained
- 1 Tbs. sugar
- 1⁄2 cup finely slivered basil
- 2 Tbs. pine nuts, toasted until golden and cooled
- In a large skillet (12 inches is ideal), heat oil over medium-high heat. Once very hot, working in batches, fry eggplant cubes in one layer at a time, stirring and turning occasionally until golden brown, about 3 to 5 minutes
- Use a slotted spoon to drain eggplant over skillet, then transfer to a paper towel-lined plate and immediately season with salt. Repeat with remaining eggplant. Transfer drained and mostly cooled eggplant to a large bowl.
- Pour off all but 3 tablespoons olive oil, and reserve the rest for another use. Cook onions and celery with salt and pepper over medium-high heat until beginning to brown, about 10 minutes. Reduce heat to medium, add tomato paste and water and cook, stirring, until caramelized and almost evaporated, 2 minutes. Reduce heat to medium and add crushed tomatoes; cook for 10 minutes. Stir in olives, vinegar, raisins, capers, and sugar and cook, stirring occasionally, until thickened, about 15 minutes more. Transfer to bowl with eggplant, along with basil and pine nuts, and stir to combine. Season with salt and pepper to taste, and let cool to room temperature before serving.
- Note: I usually "sweat" my eggplant cubes by placing them in lightly salted layers in a colander over a bowl or paper towel. Press a weight, (a lid will do) on top for pressure and let sit for a hour to allow the bitter juices to drain from the eggplant. Rinse and pat dry before cooking in skillet.