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Eggplant Caponata

Eggplant Caponata
Sala Kannan for NPR

This modern twist on a traditional Italian preparation of eggplant is from Chef Victor Casanova of Culina restaurant in Los Angeles. Cinnamon is used to bring out the flavors.

Makes 6 generous servings

4 baby Italian eggplants, cut in 1/2-inch dice

1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil


2 medium Spanish onions, cut in small dice

4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced

6 tablespoon shelled pistachios (preferably Sicilian*), toasted

6 tablespoons currants

1 tablespoon minced drained peperoncini

2 tablespoons sugar

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon unsweetened cocoa

4 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves

1 1/2 cups plain tomato sauce

1/2 cup balsamic vinegar

*Available from specialty grocery stores

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

On a large rimmed sheet pan or in a roasting pan, toss the eggplant with a light coating of olive oil. Spread in a single layer and sprinkle lightly with salt. Roast until golden and tender, about 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool.

Heat the olive oil in a large Dutch oven or wide, deep casserole, over medium heat. Add the onions, garlic, pistachios, currants and peperoncini. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions and garlic are soft and golden.

Stir in the sugar, cinnamon, cocoa, thyme, tomato sauce and vinegar. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat to a simmer. Stir in the eggplant. Cook for another 10 minutes or so, stirring occasionally, to let the flavors come together.

Cool to room temperature for serving.

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