Braised Eggplants and Potatoes with Tomatoes, Capers, and Olives
8 servings (serving size: 1 1/2 cups)
6 Japanese eggplants, cut diagonally into 1 1/2-inch-thick slices (about 2 pounds)
2 1/2 teaspoons salt, divided
2 red bell peppers
12 small red potatoes (about 1 1/2 pounds)
6 large tomatoes, cored (about 4 pounds)
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
5 cups thinly sliced onion
1 1/4 cups julienne-cut celery
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
1 teaspoon honey
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 cup water
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
1/3 cup pitted kalamata olives
1/4 cup capers
8 lemon wedges
How to Make It
Place eggplant slices in a colander, and sprinkle with 2 teaspoons salt. Toss well, and drain 1 hour. Place eggplant slices on several layers of paper towels; cover with additional paper towels. Let stand 5 minutes, pressing down occasionally.
Cut bell peppers in half lengthwise; discard seeds and membranes. Place pepper halves, skin sides up, on a foil-lined baking sheet; flatten with hand. Broil 15 minutes or until blackened. Place in a zip-top plastic bag; seal. Let stand 15 minutes. Peel and cut into 1-inch strips.
Place the potatoes in a medium sauce-pan, and cover with water. Bring to a boil; reduce heat, and simmer for 15 minutes or until almost tender. Remove the potatoes with a slotted spoon; set aside.
Return water to a boil. Add 3 tomatoes to pan; reduce heat, and simmer 1 minute or until tomato skins begin to curl. Remove tomatoes with a slotted spoon, and plunge tomatoes into ice water. Slip skins off tomatoes using a paring knife. Repeat procedure with remaining tomatoes. Cut tomatoes in half. Seed tomatoes in a sieve over a bowl, reserving juice; discard seeds. Chop tomato pulp; set aside. Combine reserved tomato juice and chopped tomatoes. Discard water.
Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in pan over medium-low heat. Add sliced onion, and cook for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in the tomato mixture, celery, tomato paste, oregano, honey, and garlic; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium, and cook 25 minutes, stirring occasionally. Sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon salt and black pepper.
Rinse eggplant, and pat dry on paper towels. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large Dutch oven or stockpot over medium heat. Add eggplant, and sauté 15 minutes or until tender. Add bell pepper, potatoes, tomato mixture, water, parsley, olives, and capers, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer for 20 minutes or until the potatoes are very tender. Serve with lemon wedges.