Eggplant and Tomato Stew

2 pounds eggplant
1 teaspoon capers
8 tablespoons olive oil
basil leaves
1 pound onion, chopped
salt to taste
2 ounces green celery, chopped
2 tablespoons vinegar
1 pound ripe tomatoes, peeled, seeded and diced
8 ounces green olives

Slice and salt the eggplant. Place a weight over and let them drain for one hour to rid them of the bitter water .

Next, wash, dry, and dice the eggplant and sauté‚ in olive oil Cook until tender but still crisp and set aside. Sauté the onion and the green celery in 4 tablespoon oil. When the onion- celery mixture is golden brown, add the tomatoes, olives, capers, and let cook for 10 minutes. Combine the whole with the eggplants, add chopped basil and salt to taste. Toss and serve.

This dish can be served warm or cold (room temperature) and as an antipasto.

Caponata is also served in a sweet-and-sour version, in which 1 tablespoon raisins and 1 tablespoon pine nuts are added to a dressing of 1/2 cup vinegar and 1 tablespoon sugar, reduced by one third. Add dressing to caponata, toss well and serve



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