caponata

Ingredients

1 large eggplant, peeled, alternating with 1-inch strips of skin left on, cut into 1-inch dice
Extra-virgin olive oil
Kosher salt
1 large red onion, cut into 1/2-inch dice
Pinch crushed red pepper flakes
1 fennel bulb, cut into 1/2-inch dice
3 ribs celery, cut into 1/2-inch dice
6 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 red and 1 yellow bell pepper, cut into 1/2-inch dice
2 zucchini, cut into 1/2-inch dice
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup tomato paste
2 tablespoons sugar
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/4 cup golden raisins
1/4 cup capers
1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted
1/2 bunch mint, cut into chiffonade

Directions
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

In a large bowl, toss the eggplant generously with olive oil and salt, to taste. Spread out on a baking sheet and roast until the eggplant is soft and mushy, about 15 to 20 minutes. Reserve.

Coat a wide deep pot with olive oil. Toss in the onion and crushed red pepper and season with salt, to taste. Cook over medium-high heat until the onions are soft and aromatic, about 8 to 10 minutes.

Add the fennel, celery and garlic and cook for another 5 to 6 minutes. Stir in the peppers and cook for another 5 to 6 minutes. Add the zucchini, season with salt, to taste, and cook until the zucchini and all the veggies are soft and aromatic and starting to come together as a stew, about 5 to 6 minutes.

Toss in the eggplant, 1/2 cup of water and the tomato paste. Cook until the water has evaporated.

Dissolve the sugar in the vinegar in a small bowl and add it to the mixture. Stir in the raisins, capers, pine nuts and mint. Cook for another 5 to 6 minutes.

Let cool and transfer the caponata to a serving bowl. Serve immediately or even better tomorrow or the next day.

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