This recipe comes to me from my friend Toula, who owned Epicurean Delights. It was one of her customers’ favorites. She says she found the recipe in an old cookbook called Good Food, by Daniel Halpern and Julie Strand. Published in 1993, it’s out of print now, so I share it with you here. It’s one of the few recipes for which I use “Italian-style” eggplants, easily found in most supermarkets. You can make it days ahead of when you are serving it and it is good warm, room temperature, or cold. It has a definite agrodolce, or sweer/sour flavor, and makes a great side dish paired with rich meats. It is also good as a sandwich filling or even works for a light supper with an egg baked on top. This makes a considerable quantity but keeps well in the refrigerator.
1 Italian eggplant, medium size, peeled and cut in 1-inch dice
1 sweet red pepper, cut in 1-inch dice
2 stalks celery, cut in 1-inch slices
1 cup canned tomatoes, chopped with their juices or the equivalent amount of fresh tomatoes with a 1/4 cup of water
¼ to 1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
1/3 cup olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
¼ cup raisins
¼ cup green olives, halved
1 tbl capers, rinsed and drained
1 bay leaf
Preheat oven to 325°
Combine all ingredients in a deep pan. Bake covered for 30 minutes. Uncover and continue to bake, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are tender. This will take about an hour and a half. Remove the bay leaf and season to taste with salt and pepper.