cook's illustrated's eggplant caponata (sicilian eggplant relish)

1 whole eggplant
about 1.5 pounds cut into 0.5-inch cubes
3/4 tsp kosher salt
3/4 cup V8 vegetable juice
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
plus extra for seasoning
2 tbsp light brown sugar
1/4 cup parsley
fresh, minced, leaves only
1 1/2 tsp anchovy fillets
2 whole tomatoes
medium, ripe, cored, seeded, and cut into 0.5-inch dice
1/4 cup raisins
2 tbsp black olives
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 stalk celery
rib only, cut into 0.25-inch dice, about .5 cup
1 whole red bell pepper
small, seeded and cut into 0.25-inch dice, about .5 cup
1 whole onion
small, diced fine
1/4 cup pine nuts
  • medium bowl (2)
  • microwave-safe plate
  • coffee filters
  • paper towel
  • whisk
  • 12-inch non-stick skillet
  • small skillet
  • non-stick cooking spray
We are huge fans of Beretta's eggplant caponata, so we were excited to find this recipe in Cook's Illustrated. This recipe takes about an hour for one person to cook, but the it lasts for a week in an airtight container in the fridge, so you can enjoy it for a few days.
Toss eggplant and salt together in medium bowl. Line entire surface of large microwave-safe plate with double layer of coffee filters and lightly spray with non-stick cooking spray. Spread eggplant in even layer over coffee filters, preparing 2 batches if needed. Cover the plate with paper towel, then microwave on high power until eggplant is dry and shriveled to one-third of its size, about 10 minutes (eggplant should not brown). Remove eggplant from microwave and immediately transfer to paper towel-lined plate.
Meanwhile, whisk vegetable juice, vinegar, brown sugar, parsley, and anchovies together in medium bowl. Stir in tomatoes, raisins, and olives.
Heat 1 tablespoon oil in 12-inch non-stick skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add eggplant and cook, stirring occasionally until edges are browned, 4 to 8 minutes, adding 1 teaspoon oil if pan appears dry. Transfer to an empty bowl and reserve.
Add remaining 2 teaspoons oil to now-empty skillet and heat until shimmering. Add celery and red pepper, cook, stirring occasionally, until softened and edges are spotty brown, 2 to 4 minutes. Add onion and continue to cook until vegetables are browned, about 4 minutes longer.
Reduce heat to medium-low; stir in eggplant and vegetable juice. Simmer and cook until vegetable juice is thickened and coats vegetables, 4-7 minutes. Transfer to serving bowl and cool to room temperature. Taste and season with up to 1 teaspoon additional vinegar. Sprinkle with pine nuts before serving. Top with burrata (optional) and serve with crisped baguette.
Recipe can be made vegan by excluding anchovies.