For 8 Appetizers
16 ounces eggplant, tops removed and cut in medium dice (leave skin on)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
¾ cup extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1 (6-ounce) onion, peeled and diced medium
1 stalk celery (3 ounces), washed and diced medium
½ cored and seeded small red pepper (3 ounces), diced medium
½ cored and seeded small green pepper (3 ounces), diced medium
2 tablespoon chopped garlic (1 ounce)
1 sprig fresh thyme
2 bay leaves
¼ cup tomato paste
1 tablespoon cocoa powder
6 ounces pitted brine-cured green olives, rinsed, drained and cut in ¼’s
1/3 cup pepperoncini, (2 ounces) stems and seeds removed and cut in very thin rings
1/3 cup (1½ ounces) sultanas (yellow raisins), soaked in 4 teaspoons dry Marsala and 2 teaspoons Sambuca
chopped through once
¼ to ½ cup water
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1½ tablespoons salted capers, ( ¾ ounce) rinsed and drained (or brine-cured, rinsed) chopped through once if
¾ teaspoon granulated sugar
½ cup toasted salted pine nuts
Season the eggplant with salt and pepper and toss with ½ cup of the olive oil. In a very hot sauté pan, add the
eggplant and sauté until crisp-tender, for about 2 minutes. Remove from the pan and add the remaining ¼ cup
of the olive oil. When the oil is medium hot, add the onions, celery and both peppers and cook for 2 minutes –
do not brown. Add the garlic, thyme and bay leaves, season lightly with salt and pepper and sauté for 1 minute.
Add the tomato paste and sauté, stirring constantly, for 2 minutes—do not brown. Add the cocoa and stir in.
Add the cooked eggplant, olives, pepperoncini, sultanas, water, vinegar, capers and sugar and bring up to a boil.
Place in a 350° oven until the eggplant is tender, for about 3 minutes. Remove to a non-reactive tray to cool.
When cooled, adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper. Garnish the Eggplant Caponata with the pine nuts
right before serving by mixing half with the Caponata and sprinkling half on top.
This recipe is included in Sandy D’Amato’s book, GOOD STOCK: Life on a Low Simmer and was part of the 2018 Tuesday Market Summer Chef Series.