The December '97 issue of LA CUCINA ITALIANA puts this dish on their Hanukkah menu because of the prodigious amount of oil in the recipe. The second version, from THE BOOK OF JEWISH FOOD by Claudia Roden, is quite similar to the recipe I developed by trial and error except that I add 2 tablespoons pine nuts to my version. Karen Selwyn Caponata alla Giudia (LA CUCINA ITALIANA) 3 medium eggplants, peeled and cubed salt 1 cup extra-virgin olive oil 2 onions, sliced 2 stalks celery, sliced 5 tomatoes, peeled, seeded and diced (Substitute Pomi brand if fresh tomatoes are less than best quality) 1/2 cup chopped pitted black olives (Mediterranean type) 1/4 cup capers 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar 1 tablespoon sugar pepper 2 tablespoons minced fresh basil Place the eggplants in a colander and sprinkle with 1 tablespoon salt. Let sit for 1 hour to let them drain their bitter juices. Heat the olive oil until it is very hot. Gently squeeze the eggplant dry and blot with paper towels; fry until golden all over, turning often. Remove with a slotted spoon and place in a serving bowl. Add the onion and celery to the olive oil, and cook until crsip-tender about 5 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes, olives, capers, vinegar, sugar, salt and pepper. Cook over medium heat for 5 minutes. Pour over the eggplants in the bowl. Add the basil and stir gently. Serve at room temperature. * * * * * * Caponata alla Giudea (THE BOOK OF JEWISH FOOD) 2 lbs (1 kg) eggplants, peeled and cubed salt 1 large onion, chopped olive oil 2 or 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped 1 1/2 lbs (750 g) tomatoes, peeled and chopped 3 celery stalks with leaves, cut into 1/2 inch (1-cm) slices 4-6 tablespoons wine vinegar 1 1/2-3 tablespoons sugar pepper 4 oz (100 g) green olives, pitted and cut in half 2 tablespoons capers Cut the eggplants into 3/4 inch (2-cm) cubes. Sprinkle with salt and leave to drain in a colander for an hour. Fry the onion in 4 tablespoon oil until golden. Then add the garlic and when the aroma rises, add the tomatoes, celery, vinegar, and sugar (for the latter two ingredients, start with the lesser quantities and add more at the end to taste), salt and pepper, olives, and capers. Simmer about 15-20 minutes. Serve cold, garnished, if you like with quartered hard-boiled eggs.
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