Serves 8 to 10
1 kilo (2.2 pounds) eggplants, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
Oil, for frying
1 large onion, sliced lengthwise
1/4 cup (60 ml) olive oil
1 1/2 cups (375 ml) tomato sauce, plus more if necessary
1 bunch celery, tough outer ribs discarded, strings removed and coarsely sliced, then poached
3/4 to 1 cup (170 grams) green olives, pitted and cut into thirds
1/4 cup (40 grams) capers, rinsed and drained
1 tablespoon (15 grams) sugar, plus more to taste
1/4 cup (60 ml) wine vinegar
Hard-boiled eggs, peeled and halved, for garnish
Chopped parsley for garnish
Heat 1 inch of oil in a large sauté pan. Fry the eggplant pieces, a batch at a time, until browned. Drain well on paper towels. Season with salt.
Sauté the onion in the olive oil for about 5 minutes, until just golden. Add the celery, olives, capers, tomato sauce, sugar, vinegar, and salt to taste. Gently stir in the eggplant, being careful not to break it up. Simmer for 2 to 3 minutes, then transfer to a large bowl or platter and cool.
Pile the caponata in a pyramid and surround it with hard-boiled eggs, sprinkle with chopped parsley, and serve cold or at room temperature. (This is even better if made a day before.)