Caponata AppetizersVegetarian “This recipe keeps the eggplant tasting fresh and crisp, and is delicious as an appetizer with toasted bread rounds.” – Katie Wetzel Murphy, AVV Owner & Ambassador – Makes 5 Cups- 4 medium eggplants (approx. 2lbs.), cut into ¾ in. cubes 2 celery stalks, cut into ½ in. long pieces 1 large red onion, thinly sliced lengthwise 6 oz. pitted green olives, halved ¼ cup capers, rinsed and drained ¼ cup dried tomatoes, chopped if large ½ cup red wine vinegar 2 Tbsp. sugar kosher salt olive oil freshly ground black pepper Method of Preparation: Place the cubed eggplant in a colander, season liberally with salt, and toss to combine. Let the eggplant stand for 30 minutes then rinse under cold running water until all the salt is gone. Squeeze the moisture from the eggplant and dry thoroughly on paper towels. In a large skillet, warm the olive oil over medium to high heat. Working in three batches, add the eggplant to the oil and fry, tossing occasionally, until dark brown all over, about 10 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the eggplant to paper towels to drain. When finished discard all but 2 Tbsp. of the olive oil. Reduce the skillet to medium heat. Add the celery and onion, stirring often until soft, about 6 minutes. Add in the olives and capers and cook for 2 minutes. Add the tomatoes, then stir and cook, about 2 minutes more. Pour in the vinegar and sugar, stir and cook, until the sugar dissolves and the vinegar almost completely evaporates, 2 to 3 minutes more. Scrape the vegetables into a large bowl, stir in the eggplant and season with salt and pepper to taste. Drizzle the caponata with extra-virgin olive oil before serving. This is great on artisan bread with Fromage Blanc cheese.