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The last few weeks we received several eggplants from the CSA. Not the big bulbous variety but the long slender ones. Still, they sat in my refrigerator's produce drawer until I could figure out a) what to do with them b) had time to do something with them.

So the other night, I dug out my falling apart copy of Frugal Gourmet Cooks Italian (yes, that Frugal Gourmet, of someone dubious subsequent fame). He has a recipe near the front of the book for Caponata that we love, then he has subsequent recipes for what to do with the caponata once you prepare it (e.g., serve over pasta). Here's his recipes, with my changes:

2 pounds eggplant - 1 inch dice
4 stalks celery - thin slice
1 medium onion - chopped
olive oil
1 can Italian Plum Tomatoes, crushed (I use a 28 oz. can of whole Italian tomatoes, and give them a quick whirl in the blender first)
2 T tomato paste
1/3 cup white wine vinegar (I was out this time and used red wine, no discernible difference)
1T sugar
2T capers, rinsed and drained (I through the entire drained jar in).
6 large green olives, sliced
4 - 5 anchovy fillets, he cuts them in half but I mince them

First he has you sprinkle the eggplant with 1T salt and let it sit, with a weight atop to "squeeze" out the bitterness. Then rinse and dry it. I didn't bother with this step.

Then he sautes the eggplant in batches, in olive oil, in a large skillet for about 10 minutes each batch, to soften. I didn't do this either - didn't want to use all the oil. Instead, I sprayed a large jellyroll pan with Pam. Then I put the eggplant on it (gave it a quick shot of Pam), and roasted it in a 425 degree oven for 20 - 25 minutes or so, until softened and very slightly browned.

In a large dutch oven, I put 1T heated 1 T olive oil, and sauteed the celery and onion until soft, but not brown (about 15 minutes). At one point, I covered the pot, so it steamed a bit. To this I added the roasted eggplant and the rest of the above ingredients. Brought it to a boil, covered and simmered on low flame about 20 - 30 minutes. Voila!

You should know, he also adds toasted pine nuts to this after it's simmered, which I sometimes do too but I'm currently out of them. I think 1/2 cup would do nicely. And he adds raisin at this point, which I would love to do but Chris thinks raisins are the devil's food, so I don't add them (it would be about 1/4 cup).

In addition to the sauce I mentioned before (use sliced garlic, some white wine, maybe some pasta water to loosen), this is great atop bruschetta.


Oh and if someone knows if I can can this in a hot water bath, please comment and let me know.

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