½ cup green olives without pimentos, rough chopped
2 tablespoons capers, drained and rinsed
½ cup red wine vinegar
¼ cup sugar
3 tablespoons pine nuts, toasted
Salt to taste
Peel eggplant and slice into 1-inch slices. Place slices on paper towels on top of a cooling rack. Sprinkle eggplant slices with kosher salt and let sit for an hour to drain. Rinse eggplant slices and cut to a medium dice.
Bring a medium pot of water to a boil. Remove core from tomatoes and slice an “X” through skin at the opposite end of each tomato. Place tomatoes in boiling water for 20 to 30 seconds. Remove and place immediately into a large bowl of ice water.
Remove skins from tomatoes. Then slice them in half and remove seeds. Cut into medium dice.
In a large sauté pan, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil, then add onion and sauté over medium-low heat until lightly caramelized.
Cut celery into ¼-inch slices and add to onions. Cook until tender and remove from pan.
Over medium heat, add ¼ cup olive oil and once hot, add eggplant. Brown eggplant, turning as little as possible, and remove from pan. Add more olive oil to pan if the eggplant begins to stick.
Add 2 tablespoons of olive oil to pan and add olives and capers. Cook together over medium heat for 2 minutes, then add tomatoes. Cook tomatoes for 10 minutes until tomato acid cooks out and the taste mellows.
Add red wine vinegar and sugar to tomatoes and cook for 2 minutes, then return onions, celery, and eggplant to pan. Cook for 5 minutes. Stir in toasted pine nuts. Remove from pan and let cool. Salt to taste. Caponata will keep in a refrigerator in a covered container for up to 2 weeks.
Fill a mason jar with caponata and wrap it in a ribbon. Pair it with a fresh baguette and your host or hostess gift is complete.