Eggplant Caponata

I have already mentioned quite a few times that I have never met an Eggplant dish that I didn't like. I also think from the numerous dips and spreads that have appeared on this blog that you get that I love to serve lots of little yummy dips with bread as an appetizer. This dip (or more like a relish or salad) combines both. I make many versions of eggplant dips but this one stands out because of one ingredient- the capers! I keep a jar of capers in my refrigerator and try to throw them in where I can. They are salty, briny and add a flavor dimension that is unmatched and the taste they add to the caponata is wonderful. Creamy from the eggplant, crunchy from the peppers, salty from the capers, tangy from the vinegar and slightly sweet from the tomato and sugar this dip is hands down my fave. Enjoy!

1 eggplant, cut into 1 inch cubes
1/4 cup canola oil
1 green pepper, cubed
1 onion, diced
4 plum tomatoes, seeded and chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed
3 Tbl capers, chopped
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
4 Tbl sugar
4 Tbl tomato paste
pinch of red pepper flakes (optional)
2Tbl water
3 Tbl fresh chopped basil

Heat a frying pan until smoking and add some of the oil. Fry the eggplant in batches in the 1/4 cup oil so that they are browned and set aside. In the same pan saute the onion, garlic, pepper and tomato till the onion starts to soften (you want to pepper to retain some bite). Add the capers, vinegar, sugar,  tomato paste, pepper flakes and water. Season with salt and pepper, add back in the eggplant and let the mixture cook for about 5-7 minutes.  Remove from heat and mix in the basil.


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