Eggplant Caponata with Pita Triangles

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6 (6-inch) pita pocket rounds
melted butter, optional
1/2 cup olive oil
1 large red onion, chopped (about 2 cups)
3 stalks celery, chopped (about 1 cup)
2 medium eggplant, chopped (about 8 cups)
2 tablespoons minced garlic
3 cups chopped drained canned tomatoes
1 cup chopped pimento-stuffed green olives
1/2 cup drained capers
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
1/4 cup tomato paste
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon tarragon
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt

Brush the pita rounds with the melted butter if desired. Cut each round into 6 wedges; separate each wedge into 2 pieces. Arrange in a single layer on a baking sheet. Broil until crisp. Let stand until cool. Store in an airtight container.

Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Sauté the onion and celery in the hot oil for 3 to 5 minutes or until tender. Stir in the eggplant and garlic.

Cook for 7 minutes or until the eggplant is tender, stirring occasionally. Stir in the tomatoes, olives, capers, parsley, wine vinegar, tomato paste, sugar, tarragon, pepper and salt and mix gently. Let stand until cool.

Spoon into a serving dish. Serve at room temperature or chill, covered, until serving time.

Serve with the toasted pita triangles.

Makes nine cups caponata.

For a different sandwich, spread caponata on a crusty Italian roll, top with a slice of provolone cheese and heat just until the cheese melts. Or toss caponata with hot cooked pasta and sprinkle with grated Parmesan cheese.



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