Caponata

                                    

This makes a lovely side dish to lamb or chicken, a tasty summer spread for crackers or bruschetta, or on a sandwich with a little feta or goat cheese. The first time I tasted caponata as a child, I was not too impressed with the salty, slightly bitter glob that had been scooped from a jar. With the magic of the Fairy Tale eggplants, however, the dish is a revelation, not to mention a new summertime favorite!

2      quarts  Fairy Tale eggplant (about a pound)

1      medium onion, chopped 

2      garlic cloves,  minced

1/3   cup red wine vinegar

1/2   cup chopped celery

2      tablespoons capers, drained

1/3   cup chopped pitted olives, Kalamata or cracked green

1      chopped medium tomato 

1/3   cup olive oil

2      tablespoons chopped fresh oregano 

1/2-1 teaspoons red pepper flakes

salt and pepper to taste

Remove the green "caps" and cut the eggplants into 1/2 inch cubes or cut crossways into 1/2 inch rounds. Place olive oil in sauté pan and heat to medium hot and add the eggplant, onion, and celery. Sauté about 5 minutes and add the garlic. Stir for about two minutes more and add the remaining ingredients. Cover and simmer until the eggplant is tender but not mushy about 20 - 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. This dish is best served a few hours after cooking when all the flavors have melded. Serve hot, cold or at room temperature. Makes about 5-6 cups.