In the Mediterranean, there are scores of recipes for caponata. They all have a tomato aroma, lots of fresh veggies, and a sweet and sour twang. I have adapted it to feature the bounty of California
8 cups diced (about 3/4-inch square) unpeeled eggplant (about 2 medium)Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
About 4 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1 large onion, peeled and diced
1 garlic clove, peeled and minced
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
2 tbsp. chopped pistachios
2 tbsp. golden raisins
1-1/2 tbsp. chopped fresh thyme (can substitute basil, mint or rosemary)
1-1/2 tsp. sugar
2 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
2 cups tomatoes, seeded and diced
Cube the eggplant, toss in 2 tbsp. olive oil with salt and pepper and bake at 350°F until golden brown, 20-30 minutes.
In a skillet, sauté your onion on medium high heat for 5 minutes in 2 tbsp. olive oil. Add garlic and cinnamon and sauté for 2 more minutes. Add tomatoes and sauté until the tomatoes begin to soften, 6-10 minutes.
Add the pistachio nuts, raisins and thyme, and sauté for 5 more minutes. Add the eggplant, sugar and vinegar and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to medium, season with salt and pepper to taste, and simmer until all the flavors blend, about 15 minutes. Caponata is best when served the next day, after all the flavors have had the chance to marry.