Sicilian Vegetable Stew

2 pounds medium-size eggplants
1/2 pound onions, thinly sliced
1/3 cup olive oil
1 pound ripe tomatoes, seeded and cut into strips
2 tablespoons capers, drained
2 or 3 celery stalks, chopped
6 ounces olives
1/3 cup vinegar of any kind
sugar to taste

Wash the eggplants, cut them into small pieces, put them into a large strainer and sprinkle with salt. Set aside to drain for at least 1 hour. Meanwhile, combine the onions with one-third of the olive oil in a wide, shallow pan. Cook until golden. Add the tomatoes, capers, celery and olives. Mix well and cook for 15 minutes, set aside.

Rinse the eggplant and dry completely. Heat the remaining oil in a skillet over high heat. When the oil reaches its maximum temperature, add the eggplant pieces and fry until well browned. Drain. Stir the eggplant into the tomato mixture.

Sprinkle on the vinegar and sugar and return to low heat. Cook until the vinegar completely evaporates. Serve either warm or cold.

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