1 1/2 pounds eggplant, diced in 1/2 inch cubes
1 3/4 teasponns salt
5 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 cups diced onions
1 tablespoon chopped garlic
1 cup finely diced celer, parboiled for 2 minutes
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/4 cup drained capers
4 ounces Sicilian or Greek pitted black olives, sliced in half
2 cups Tomato Sauce
3 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
1/4 teaspoon unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon sugar
Preheat the oven to 450 F.
Put the eggplant into a metal colander, sprinkle with 1 teaspoon of the salt, cover with a dish, put a heavy weight on top and let it drain for 15 minutes. Remove and pat very dry.
Pour 3 tablespoons of the olive oil into a large, ovenproof skillet and cook on high heat for 3 minutes, Reduce the heat to medium, add the eggplant and cook on one side for 4 minutes, Turn over and cook the other side for 4 minutes. Sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon of the salt and bake in the preheated oven for 5 minutes, Remove from the oven and transfer the eggplant to a bowl to cool. Wipe the skillet, pour in the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil and cook on medium heat for 2 mnutes. Add the onions, stir until well coated and cook for 4 minutes. Add the garlic, celery, red pepper flakes and 1/4 teaspoon of the salt and cook for 3 minutes. Add the capers, olives, tomato sauce, basil and eggplant. Bring to a boil and cook for 3 minutes. Stir in the cocoa powder until well mixed and simmer for 3 minutes.
In a small pan on high heat, cook the vinegar and sugar until reduced by half and quite syrupy, about 2 minutes, Stir into the vegetables, mix well and simmer on very low heat for 4 minutes. Remove from the heat, transfer to a bowl and refrigerate overnight. Bring to room temperature before serving.
©2013 Nick Stellino Productions