Everyone loves this recipe. It's low-fat but packed full of flavor. It can be made ahead (actually it's better made ahead) and can sit on a buffet for hours. It travels well too. It's a little labor intensive but that's one of the things guests love about. It feels special. I serve it on toasted baguette slices. —TheNostalgicBaker
about 4 cups
eggplant, 1/2 inch dice
extra virgin olive oil, divided
yellow onion, 1/2-inch dice
green bell pepper, 1/2 inch dice
red bell pepper, 1/2-inch-dice
celery, medium dice
28-oz can whole plum tomatoes, preferrably San Marzano
Place eggplant in a colander, sprinkle it with the coarse kosher salt, and let it drain for 30 minutes.
Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a large, heavy-weight pot. Add the onion, bell peppers, and celery to the pot. Sauté over medium heat until the vegetables are softened, about 10 minutes. While the vegetables are sauteéing, rinse the eggplant and pat it dry with paper towels, then add it to the pot along with the remaining oil. Sauté until the eggplant is soft and light brown, about 10 more minutes.
Pour about a ¼ cup of the tomato juice into the pot. Over the pot, break up the tomatoes with your hands, allowing the juice and tomato pieces to fall into the pot while removing the stem part. Reserve the remaining tomato liquid. Add the oregano, basil, black pepper, and garlic and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are tender, about 45 minutes. If the mixture begins to stick while cooking, add small amounts of the reserved liquid from the tomatoes. When the Caponata is finished all the liquid should be evaporated. Stir in the olives, capers, parsley, sugar and red wine vinegar. Serve room temperature.