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At Beretta, antipasto like chef Ruggero Gadaldi's light and nutty caponatina whets the appetite before the heart of a meal (pizza) arrives. Serve it warm or cold on a platter with a couple of spoons and toasted bread at your upcoming holiday party. Or keep it all to yourself.
Serves 4 - 6
4 medium-size Japanese eggplants
1 stalk celery
½ basket cherry tomatoes
1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil
1 tablespoon capers
2 tablespooons chopped Sicilian green olives
1 tablespoon toasted pine nuts
2 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar
1. Peel eggplant leaving some stripes, and cut into 1-inch cubes. Season with salt. Let them sit for 12 hours, and then dry pat them with a towel. Fry (preferrably deep-fry) the eggplant, remove, and let cool.
2. Cut celery into 1/3-inch cubes, and blanch for 2 minutes in boiling salted water. Strain and cool under running water. Strain again.
3. Toss eggplant, celery, tomato, basil, capers, green olives, pine nuts, and white balsamic vinegar. Season to taste and serve.