“New Orleans inspired appetizer full of flavor. Serve warm or at room temp with crusty baguette slices. Leftovers make a great pizza topping, pasta sauce or cold salad.”
1⁄3 cupolive oil, approximately, divided
2 lbs fresh eggplants, cut in 1/2-inch cubes
4 teaspoonstable salt
1 largered bell pepper, small chop
1 largegreen bell pepper, small chop
1 1⁄2 cups chopped celery
1 largered onion, diced
1⁄4 cupcapers, drained and rinsed
6 anchovy fillets, drained and minced
1⁄2 cupbalsamic vinaigrette
1⁄4 cupbrown sugar, loosely packed
6 ouncestomato paste
28 ounces fire roasted diced tomatoes (Muir Glen brand preferred)
1 tablespooncajun seasoning (Emeril’s Essense)
1 teaspoonfresh ground black pepper
1 cup pimento stuffed green olive, sliced
1 cupblack olives, sliced
1⁄2 teaspoonTabasco sauce
Place cubed eggplant in a large colander. (Eggplant skin adds color and texture, but eggplant can be peeled if the skin is tough or stringy.) Sprinkle with 4 tsp table salt and toss to coat all pieces. Place colander in sink and allow to stand for 1 hour to drain excess moisture.
Pour eggplant from colander onto 2 layers of paper towels. Cover with another layer of paper towels and gently press to remove more moisture.
Heat 2 Tbsp olive oil in cast iron dutch oven. Saute bell peppers and celery until soft. Remove to a large bowl.
Heat 1 Tbsp olive oil in dutch oven. Saute onions and garlic until tender. Add to bowl with peppers/celery.
Heat 2 Tbsp olive oil in dutch oven. Saute eggplant cubes for 12-15 minutes until lightly browned, stirring often.
Return pepper/celery/onion/garlic mixture to the dutch oven.
Add all remaining ingredients and bring to a boil.
Reduce heat, cover with lid, and simmer slowly for 45 minutes. Stir frequently.
Adjust seasoning to your liking.
Refrigerate for at least 24 hours; 3 days is even better.
Serve with lightly toasted baguette slices and crackers.
Caponata will keep for several weeks in the refrigerator.Try serving leftovers as a cold salad, warmed and tossed with pasta corkscrews, or even as a pizza topping.