1eggplant(about 1 ¼ to 1 ½ pounds), cut into 1-inch cubes
⅓cupplus 2 tablespoons olive oil (if needed)
2cupssliced celery (preferably hearts)
1cupgreen olives either pitted or with pimentos
¼cupdrained and rinsed capers
⅓cupred wine vinegar
Place the eggplant in a colander, sprinkle with a generous amount of kosher salt, 3 to 4 teaspoons, toss the eggplant with the salt, and let sit in the colander in the sink or over a bowl for 1 hour. Turn the eggplant onto a dry clean dishtowel, and pat dry with another dry clean dishtowel.
Heat the 1/3 cup oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, add the eggplant (in batches if it is too much to cook in a single layer. Cook for about 6 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the eggplant is tender and lightly browned. While the eggplant is cooking, line a paper plate of baking sheet with paper towels. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the cooked eggplant to the paper towels.
If there is no more oil left in the skillet, then add the remaining two tablespoons olive oil and heat over medium high heat. Add the onions and saute for 4 minutes until almost tender. Stir in the celery and saute for another minute. Stir in the tomato paste, then add 1 cup water and bring to a boil. Add the capers, sugar, vinegar, and the cooked eggplant. Bring to a simmer, lower the heat slightly, stir in the olives, and simmer for 5 minutes.
Cool to room temperature. Refrigerate for up to a week. Serve chilled or at room temperature.
I used a combo of smaller eggplant instead of one big purple one (more classically Italian) when we shot this recipe. I used a mix of round steaked Thai baby eggplants, some Japanese eggplants, and you can mix and match which kinds you use. You are looking for about 1 ¼ to 1 ½ pounds total eggplant.