Caponata

This is a great eggplant side dish or appetizer with crostini.  We love it cold, but it is wonderful warm.  I have tossed this with pasta and created a fabulous last minute dish.

2 medium eggplants, peeled every other row – leaving some of the skin on, cut into chunks

1 small onion, chopped in larger pieces

1 large bell pepper, chopped in larger pieces

6-7 fresh basil leaves, chopped

1 large clove of garlic, crushed

1/4 cup olive oil

1/2 cup capers

1/2 cup mixed large green olives and kalamata olives, torn into quarters

red hot pepper flakes to taste

1 teaspoon oregano

4 heaping teaspoons of tomato paste

After eggplant is cut, lie on paper towels and salt well.  Let them sit, it will sweat all of the bitter liquid, about an hour.  Add about 1/4 cup of olive oil to a large saucepan, saute onions and peppers, till soft.  After squeezing the water out of eggplant, add to saucepan.  Add the rest of ingredients, making sure that the paste is evenly distributed.  The amount of paste you use will be determined by how much vege mixture you get.  Add small amounts at a time, it shouldn’t be saucy.   

Simmer on low heat so the mixture gets combined and paste cooks –  maybe about 15 minutes.  I usually let it set overnight before we eat it so it gets a chance to cure with the capers and olives.  It usually doesn’t last very long at our house.  Staple in the “old” Genovesi household.

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