Eggplant in a Sauce of Peppers & Tomatoes

from “The Flavors of Tuscany” by Nancy Harmon Jenkins

  • About 1 pound eggplant (2 small or 1 large)
  • Salt to taste
  • 2 large sweet bell peppers, preferably green and red
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped
  • 3 large very ripe tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and chopped
  • 1/2 cup slivered fresh basil
  • 1 tablespoon large salt cured capers, rinsed and chopped
  • Freshly ground black pepper

Rinse the eggplant and cut in 1 inch cubes. Place in a colander, sprinkle liberally with salt, and put a plate over the eggplant with a weight (a can of tomatoes is fine) on top. Set the colander in the sink or over a bowl to drain. Leave for about 1 hour, then rinse the salt off the eggplant and dry the cubes with paper towels, pressing well to extract most of the moisture.

Core the peppers and remove and discard the seeds and white inner membrane. Chop the peppers into big pieces.

In a large frying pan over medium heat, saute the eggplant cubes in the olive oil until they are brown. The eggplant must be very dry to brown. As the cubes brown, remove them from the oil and set aside. When all the eggplant has browned, lower the heat to medium low or low and add the peppers, onion and garlic to the pan. Cook gently until the peppers and onion are soft. Do not let the onion or garlic brown.

Return the the eggplant to the pan along with the chopped tomatoes, stirring to mix everything together well. Cook for about 20 to 30 minutes, or until the tomatoes are reduced to a thick sauce that envelops the eggplant and peppers. Stir in the the slivered basil and capers, mixing well. Add pepper and if necessary, salt (there may be sufficient from the salting of the eggplant).

You may serve this immediately, but it’s customary to serve it at room temperature.

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