Article posted: 10/2/2012 9:04 PM

Eggplant Caponata

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3 cups olive oil

2 pounds eggplant, cut into 1-inch cubes

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1 large yellow onion, chopped

1 rib celery, roughly chopped

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

3 tablespoons tomato paste, thinned with cup water

1 cup crushed canned tomatoes

6 ounces green olives, pitted and roughly chopped

cup white wine vinegar

cup golden raisins

cup salt-packed capers, rinsed and drained

3 tablespoon sugar

2 tablespoon finely grated unsweetened chocolate

cup finely shredded basil

2 tablespoon pine nuts

Heat oil in a 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat. Working in batches, add eggplant and fry, tossing occasionally, until browned, 3 to 4 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer eggplant to a large bowl; set aside. Pour off all but cup oil, and reserve for another use.

Return skillet to heat, add onions and celery and season with salt and pepper; cook, stirring often, until beginning to brown, 10 minutes. Reduce heat to medium, and add thinned tomato paste and cook, stirring, until caramelized and almost evaporated, 1 to 2 minutes. Add crushed tomatoes and continue cooking for 10 minutes. Stir in olives, vinegar, raisins, capers, sugar and chocolate, and cook, stirring occasionally, until thickened, about 15 minutes.

Transfer to bowl with eggplant, along with basil and pine nuts, and mix together. Season with salt and pepper, and let cool to room temperature before serving.

Serves eight.

Elgin Community College Culinary Arts and Hospitality Department

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