Make a generous batch of this chunky, olive-studded, Sicilian eggplant antipasto to have on hand—you’ll be set for the week. It makes a wonderful lunch served with sliced prosciutto or any of the great Italian salami along with hard-boiled eggs, or spoon it over poached fish or chicken.
- 2 large eggplants, cut into 1-inch cubes
- 1/4 cup kosher salt
- 1/2 cup red wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- ¼ cup dried currants or raisins
- 3/4 cup olive oil
- 3 stalks celery, cut into large dice
- 1 medium onion, peeled and chopped
- 4 anchovy fillets, chopped
- One 28-ounce can whole, peeled plum tomatoes, quartered, and their juices
- 1 cup large green olives, pitted and halved
- 2 tablespoons capers, drained
- 1 bay leaf
- Freshly ground black pepper
Toss the eggplant with the salt in a colander and let sit for about 1 hour to drain out the bitter liquid. Combine the vinegar and sugar in a small bowl. Add the currants and set aside to plump.
Pat the eggplant dry with paper towels. Heat 1/2 cup of the olive oil in a heavy, wide pot over medium-high heat. Working in batches, fry the eggplant until browned all over, about 10 minutes. Transfer the eggplant with a slotted spatula to a bowl.
Add the remaining 1/4 cup olive oil, the celery, and the onions to the pot. Cook over medium heat until just soft, about 10 minutes. Stir in the anchovies. Add the tomatoes with their juices, the olives, capers, and bay leaf. Return the eggplant to the pot. Stir in the currants and vinegar. Simmer, stirring gently and often, until the juices thicken a bit, 10–15 minutes. Season with pepper. Refrigerate for at least one day and up to one week. Remove the bay leaf before serving.