photo by Catherine B.
- Ready In:
- 1hr 45mins
- 1⁄3 cup olive oil, approximately, divided
- 2 lbs fresh eggplants, cut in 1/2-inch cubes
- 4 teaspoons table salt
- 1 large red bell pepper, small chop
- 1 large green bell pepper, small chop
- 1 1⁄2 cups chopped celery
- 1 large red onion, diced
- 3⁄4 teaspoon minced garlic
- 1⁄4 cup capers, drained and rinsed
- 6 anchovy fillets, drained and minced
- 1⁄2 cup balsamic vinaigrette
- 1⁄4 cup brown sugar, loosely packed
- 6 ounces tomato paste
- 28 ounces fire roasted diced tomatoes (Muir Glen brand preferred)
- 1 tablespoon cajun seasoning (Emeril's Essense)
- 1 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
- 1 cup pimento stuffed green olive, sliced
- 1 cup black olives, sliced
- 1⁄2 cup vodka
- 1⁄2 teaspoon Tabasco sauce
- Place cubed eggplant in a large colander. (Eggplant skin adds color and texture, but eggplant can be peeled if the skin is tough or stringy.) Sprinkle with 4 tsp table salt and toss to coat all pieces. Place colander in sink and allow to stand for 1 hour to drain excess moisture.
- Pour eggplant from colander onto 2 layers of paper towels. Cover with another layer of paper towels and gently press to remove more moisture.
- Heat 2 Tbsp olive oil in cast iron dutch oven. Saute bell peppers and celery until soft. Remove to a large bowl.
- Heat 1 Tbsp olive oil in dutch oven. Saute onions and garlic until tender. Add to bowl with peppers/celery.
- Heat 2 Tbsp olive oil in dutch oven. Saute eggplant cubes for 12-15 minutes until lightly browned, stirring often.
- Return pepper/celery/onion/garlic mixture to the dutch oven.
- Add all remaining ingredients and bring to a boil.
- Reduce heat, cover with lid, and simmer slowly for 45 minutes. Stir frequently.
- Adjust seasoning to your liking.
- Refrigerate for at least 24 hours; 3 days is even better.
- Serve with lightly toasted baguette slices and crackers.
- Caponata will keep for several weeks in the refrigerator. Try serving leftovers as a cold salad, warmed and tossed with pasta corkscrews, or even as a pizza topping.
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