Sicilian eggplant caponata is one of the best ways to utilize eggplant. Caponata is a salty, sweet and sour appetizer, bursting with flavor.
1cuppitted green olives
16 ouncecan tomato paste
1/4cupred wine vinegar
Preheat oven to 425f and set rack to middle. Cut eggplant into 1" squares and mix well with a 1/2 cup olive oil, 1 tsp kosher salt and a 1/2 tsp pepper. Place eggplant on parchment paper lined baking sheet, making sure to not overcrowd the pieces. Roast in oven for 25-30 minutes until fully cooked through and soft in the middle.
Toast pignoli nuts in a dry pan over medium-low heat for approximately 5 minutes being careful not to burn. When toasted set aside.
Saute 1 cup of chopped celery and 1 cup of red onion in a 1/4 cup of olive oil for 2-3 minutes over medium heat. Add in 1 6 ounce can of tomato paste and continue to cook for 3 more minutes.
To the pan add the 1 cup of pitted green olives, 1/8 cup rinsed capers, 1/4 cup raisins, 2 Tbsp sugar and 1/4 cup of red wine vinegar. Cook for 5 minutes allowing the vinegar and sugar to cook through and incorporate.
Add the roasted eggplant to the pan and gently mix it all together being careful to not crush the eggplant. Taste test and make any last minute adjustments to salt, pepper or sugar. The last step is to add in the 1/4 cup of fresh parsley and to plate. Enjoy now or allow the flavors to better blend overnight in the refrigerator.
Caponata tastes better the next day. Store it in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
Salt was kept to a minimum. The inherent saltiness of the olives and capers should be kept in mind.