In a small saucepan, boil the celery sticks for about 6 – 7 minutes or until tender. Cut the celery into small dice.
In a medium-size saucepan, pour the extra-virgin olive oil, and add the garlic, onion, and a generous amount of red pepper. Sauté for about 5 minutes over medium heat, or until the onion is soft and translucent.
Add the tomatoes, basil olives, capers, and freshly ground black pepper.
Cook for about 10 minutes and set it aside.
Cut the eggplant into approximately 3/4 – inch (2 – 3 cm) dice. In a large frying pan, heat the oil to frying temperature. Add the eggplant.
Fry the eggplant gently for about 8 – 10 minutes, until light brown. Add salt.
Place the pan with the tomato back on the stove on medium heat. Combine the eggplant.
Add the celery. Stir to blend the ingredients together.
In a small bowl, whisk the sugar and the vinegar together.
Stir the sugar and vinegar mix into the pan. Cover the saucepan, and cook for about 5 minutes, or until the caponata thickens.
Adjust the salt and pepper if necessary. Capers can be very salty, so taste the caponata and add salt only if necessary. Best served lukewarm as an appetizer or a side dish
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