Caponata (version XIV)

2 medium-large eggplants (about 2 and one-half pounds)
1 1/2  cups olive oil
1 medium onion, sliced
6 ribs celery, cut into 1-inch lengths and blanched for 1 minute in boiling water
1 cup pitted green olives
1/2 cup capers
1 1/2 cups plain tomato sauce
1/2  cup white wine vinegar
2 tablespoons sugar
3/4 cup toasted almond slivers

Wash the eggplants, cut off the stems, and cut the eggplants into 3/4-inch cubes. Sprinkle with abundant salt and allow to drain for an hour. Rinse well, dry, and fry in 1 cup olive oil until golden brown on all sides. Drain on absorbent paper.

Sauté the onion in one-half cup olive oil until it begins to color. Add the blanched celery and cook a minute longer, then add the olives, capers, tomato sauce, vinegar and sugar.

Simmer for 5 minutes.

Stir in the eggplant and simmer for 10 minutes. Correct the salt, then refrigerate for 24 hours.

Serve the caponata, sprinkled with the toasted almonds, either cold or at room temperature.

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