This is the recipe I've used for years. Its from "The Victory Garden Cookbook" by Marian Morash. I usually use about half as much olive oil as is called for. There's also a very good recipe that calls for cinnamon and cocoa powder in Mario Batali's book "Molto Italiano."
2 pounds eggplant
¾ cup plus 2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cups chopped onions
1 cup chopped celery
1 cup peeled, seeded and chopped tomatoes
½ cup pitted, halved green olives
¼ cup rinsed and drained capers
1 tablespoons pine nuts
⅓ cup red wine vinegar heated in a small pan or in the microwave with 1 tablespoon sugar dissolved in it
Peel the eggplant, and cut it into 3/4-inch cubes. Salt the cubes, and let them drain for for about 30 minutes; pat dry. Heat half of the oil in large frying pan, and sauté half the eggplant cubes until golden brown, about 8 minutes. Remove the eggplant to a strainer. Add the remaining oil to the frying pan, and sauté the rest of the eggplant, and drain as above.
In the same oil (add an additional 2 tablespoons of oil, if necessary), sauté the onions and celery until just tender, then add the tomatoes. Cover the pan and cook for 4-5 minutes, then uncover, and cook for 5 minutes more. Add the eggplant, olives, capers, and pine nuts to the pot. Pour the vinegar/sugar mixture over the vegetable mixture cooking in the pot. Cover, and simmer for another 5-10 minutes. Season with salt to taste, and cool.
Serve at room temperature or cold.
This is the Gourmet recipe I've been using, tho I've been cutting down more and more on ingredients, so now only use eggplant, tomatoes, garlic, onion, celery, raisins & toasted almonds. It is to die for, I never have leftovers, and if I do, they are gone in no time...
2 lb eggplant (preferably small but not Asian)
2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon coarse sea salt (preferably Sicilian)
2 1/4 to 2 1/2 cups olive oil
11 garlic cloves (from 2 heads), chopped
2 tablespoons tomato paste (preferably from a tube)
1 (28-oz) can whole Italian tomatoes, finely chopped and juice reserved
5 celery ribs, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 large onion, chopped
1 large red or yellow bell pepper, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 cup large green Sicilian olives (6 oz), pitted and cut into 1/4-inch pieces
1/4 cup drained bottled capers, rinsed
1/3 cup red-wine vinegar
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
Special equipment: a deep-fat thermometer
Cut eggplant into 1/2-inch cubes and transfer to a colander. Toss with 2 tablespoons sea salt. Let drain 1 hour.
While eggplant drains, heat 2 tablespoons oil in a 4- to 5-quart heavy pot over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking, then sauté three fourths of garlic, stirring, until golden, about 1 minute. Add tomato paste and cook, stirring, 1 minute. Add tomatoes with their juice, then reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until thickened, 20 to 25 minutes.
Bring 3 cups salted water to a boil in a 1- to 1 1/2-quart saucepan, then cook celery until tender, 5 to 7 minutes. Drain in a colander and rinse under cold water to stop cooking.
Gently squeeze eggplant to remove excess moisture and pat dry. Heat 1/4 inch oil (about 2 cups) in a 12-inch heavy skillet over moderately high heat until it registers 360°F on thermometer, then fry eggplant in 4 batches, stirring and turning constantly with a slotted spoon, until browned and tender, 3 to 5 minutes per batch. (Return oil to 360°F between batches.) Transfer to paper towels.
Pour off all but 2 tablespoons oil from skillet, then reduce heat to moderate and cook onion, bell pepper, and remaining garlic, stirring occasionally, until golden, about 10 minutes. Add tomato sauce, eggplant, celery, olives, capers, vinegar, sugar, pepper, and remaining teaspoon sea salt and simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, 15 minutes. Cool to room temperature, uncovered, then chill, covered, at least 8 hours.
Just before serving, stir in parsley and basil. Serve cold or at room temperature.
Cooks' notes: • If your sea salt is very granular and pebblelike, crush it using the flat side of a large heavy knife or the bottom of a heavy skillet. • To take the temperature of a shallow amount of oil, put bulb in skillet and turn thermometer facedown, resting other end against rim of skillet. Check temperature frequently. • Caponata can be chilled up to 1 week. Makes about 1 quart, or 10 servings (as part of antipasti). Gourmet Menus May 2005
Here's a recipe from a local restaurant. I make it often, and it's always a big hit. Since hubby dislikes green peppers, I use all red/orange/yellow.
This caponata needs to cool and/or rest overnight to taste its best, but it's so, so worth the wait!
Here goes: cut 2 pounds baby eggplant into small chunks, salt, and weight down in a colander to drain about 20 min. Warm a couple or 3 T olive oil in a large saucepan, add a cup of diced vidalia onion, 2 chopped garlic cloves, 4 anchovy filets and dried red pepper flakes to taste. Stir frequently till onions are transluscent. Then add 1 small can tomato paste, 1/2 c currants, 1/2 c sliced celery, 1/2 c sliced fennel, 3 T capers, 1/2 c wine vinegar, 1/4 cup white wine, 5 fresh basil leaves, 1/4 c chopped parsley and 1/2 c good quality green or black olives. Cook over medium low heat till thickened, about 30 min. Then rinse and drain the egglant, add to pot, and cook till tender about 40 more min. Season with s & p to taste. Cover and refrigerate a day before serving.