Caponata

2 pounds of eggplant, cubed (about 3 medium eggplant)
2 tablespoons kosher or sea salt
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
1-1/2 cups crushed San Marzano tomatoes (I use Cento Passata)
1/2 cup green Italian olives (I use Cento nocellara olives), sliced *
1/2 cup chopped celery
3 tablespoons capers packed in salt, rinsed
1/4 cup red wine vinegar  (or to taste)
2 tablespoons sugar (or to taste)
freshly ground black pepper
chopped fresh basil
2 hard boiled eggs, quartered for garnish

Place the cubed eggplant in a colander and toss well with the salt.  Let the eggplant sit for about an hour. Do not rinse the eggplant.  Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. 

Place the eggplant on a rimmed baking sheet (I line mine with foil for easy cleanup).  Toss with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil and roast for 25 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a large fry pan, saute the chopped onions in 1/4 cup of olive oil, gently, for about 5 minutes.  Add the crushed tomatoes and simmer for about 5 minutes. Add the olives, celery, capers, vinegar and sugar and gently simmer for about 15 minutes.  Add the roasted eggplant and stir until blended.  Add pepper to taste. 

To serve, add chopped fresh basil and serve with hard boiled eggs and some crusty bread.  Or use as a side dish for fish or chicken.  You can serve this hot or at room temperature.  It lasts several days in the fridge.

* to slice whole olives, remove the pit by smashing the olive
with the flat part of a knife.  The pit will then be easy to remove and
you can slice the olives. 


The Italian Dish
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