Country Caponata

1 large eggplant
3 tablespoons kosher salt
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil (divided)
1/2 medium onion, chopped
1/2 cup diced red pepper
1 cup diced celery (strings removed)
1/4 cup seedless green olives, chopped
1/4 cup capers
1/4 cup tomato paste
4 cups seeded and diced tomatoes
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/3 cup pine nuts, toasted
1/4 cup Italian flat-leaf parsley
bruschetta, bread or crackers

Rinse, dry and dice eggplant into 1/2-inch cubes. Place in colander and cover with salt for 30 minutes. Rinse 5 minutes under cold water and squeeze dry with paper towels.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Toss eggplant in 2 tablespoons olive oil and place on baking pan. Bake 20 minutes. Let cool.

In pan, saute onion, red pepper and celery in remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil until lightly brown, about 3 minutes. Add olives, capers, tomato paste, tomatoes, sugar, vinegar and pepper. Remove from heat and place in bowl with eggplant, pine nuts and parsley. Serve cool with bruschetta, bread or crackers.

Makes 8 servings.

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