This takes lots of time and lots of pans, but it is worth the effort
- 4-5 quarts hot water
- 2-3 tablespoons sea salt
- 3 celery stalks, cut into ½ inch pieces
- 1 ½- 2 pounds of eggplant, peeled and cut into 1” cubes
- 1 large onion, coarsely chopped
- 2 tablespoons ULIVA Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 4 tablespoons ITALICO Extra Virgin Olive Oil for frying
- 1 ½ cups tomato pulp
- ½ cup pitted green olives, cut into pieces
- 3 tablespoons capers (rinsed and drained if packed in salt)
- 3 tablespoons of sugar (or, better, 2 of sugar and 1 of cocoa)
- ¼ cup REALE White Balsamic Vinegar 4 year old
- Freshly ground pepper
First bring the water to a full boil, then add the salt and celery. Cook until just tender, about 5 minutes. Remove the celery, refresh it in cold water and drain.
Salt the eggplant cubes and put into a colander topped with paper towels and a weight to eliminate excess moisture.
Put the onion into a large nonstick skillet or wok, drizzle with the 2 T ULIVA Extra Virgin Olive Oil, stirring to coat well, then cook over moderate heat until the onion is tender.
Add the celery and tomato pulp. Simmer until the sauce thickens slightly. Then add the olives, capers, sugar (and cocoa), vinegar. Season with salt and pepper.
Squeeze the eggplant cubes to remove excess water, rinse and pat dry with paper towels.
Using another large, nonstick skillet or wok, heat 2 T ITALICO Extra Virgin Olive Oil. Add half the eggplant and fry until soft and golden brown. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels. Repeat with the rest of the eggplant.
Combine the eggplant with the sauce.
Serve at room temperature as a dip or as a side dish.