Start your Italian meal with a few bites of and elegant Italian relish called Caponata.

Caponata (Eggplant Relish)
¼ cup olive oil
2 medium eggplants, peeled and cut into 1″ cubes
½ onion, diced
2 large cloves garlic, minced
2 ribs celery, cut on diagonal
1 cup diced Italian tomatoes in juice
½ cup sliced Sicilian style olives
1 T. capers or caperberries
2 tsp. anchovy paste or 2 anchovies
¼ cup white wine vinegar
1 tsp. dried oregano
1 T. sugar
1 tsp. kosher salt
pinch of red pepper flakes
¼ cup chopped fresh Italian parsley
Basil leaves for garnish

In a large skillet, heat oil.

Add eggplant; cook about 5-8 minutes on medium heat until soft. Add onions. Cook another minute. Add garlic and celery. Stir another 2-3 minutes. Add tomatoes, olives, capers, anchovies, red wine vinegar, oregano, sugar, salt, red pepper flakes and parsley.

Simmer, for about 20 minutes until all vegetables are tender. Taste for seasoning. Cool to room temperature, then refrigerate until ready to serve.

Serves 4-6. Or place in a ring mold, pressing down to shape the mold, take off the ring, garnish with caper berry and basil leaves.

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