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Vintage California Cuisine: 300 Recipes from the First Cookbooks Published in the Golden State



3-4 lbs eggplant, peeled and cut into 1” cubes
4 stalks celery, sliced into ½” strips
Two onions, peeled and coarsely chopped
2 cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped
3 ripe tomatoes chopped
I cup green olives, coarsely chopped
1 or 2 tablespoons capers
2 tablespoons sugar
12 fresh basil leaves, shredded, or 2 teaspoons dried basil
¼ cup red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon salt
Fresh ground pepper
Up to ½ cup olive oil

1. Peel eggplants, cut into cubes, place in colander or strainer in sink, and salt heavily. Let drain for at least one hour.  Rinse carefully, and pat dry with paper towels.

2. Heat several tablespoons olive oil to the point of fragrance, and sauté onion, garlic and celery until soft.  Remove from heat and set aside. Add several tablespoons more olive oil to pan, and cook eggplant, turning frequently, until lightly browned on all sides. If necessary add more olive oil, as eggplant sticks easily. Return onion mixture to pan, add tomatoes, olives, capers, sugar, basil, and a good grinding of black pepper. Cook covered, over low heat, for about half an hour, stirring occasionally.

3. Serve at room temperature. Caponata may be used as a relish, a topping for pasta, or as a spread on bruschetta. If you make it ahead of time, flavors will have an opportunity to blend well.  Refrigerate after cooking for up to three days and bring to room temperature before serving.

Copyright 2005 Seasonal Chef