The salty, acidic flavors of vinegar, tomatoes, capers, and kalamata olives harmonize with brown sugar and sweet raisins, creating a sweet-and-sour taste that's often found in Sicilian cooking.
1. Remove and discard fennel stalks. Trim tough outer leaves from fennel bulb. Cut bulb in half through base. Cut out small pyramid-shaped core from each half; discard. Place cored fennel cut sides down; slice crosswise into 4 thick slices. Cut slices into cubes. Set aside.
2. Heat oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add fennel, eggplant, and next 4 ingredients; sauté 10 minutes. Add tomatoes and next 6 ingredients; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Uncover and cook 13 minutes or until most of liquid evaporates. Remove from heat; stir in balsamic vinegar.
Caponata (kap-oh-NAH-tah) is an eggplant-based dish that can be served alongside chicken, pork, or fish, or as an antipasto or condiment. Though most often served at room temperature, it's also good served warm or chilled.