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Caponata Picnic Sandwiches


  • 0.25 cup olive oil

  • 1 stalk celery chopped

  • 1 medium eggplant cut into 1/2-inch pieces

  • salt

  • 1 red bell pepper cut into 1/2-inch pieces

  • 1 medium onion chopped

  • 1 14 1/2-ounce can diced tomato

  • 3 tablespoons raisins

  • 0.5 teaspoon dried oregano leaves

  • freshly ground black pepper

  • 0.25 cup red wine vinegar

  • 2 teaspoons sugar

  • 1 tablespoon drained caper

  • 1 loaf ciabatta bread cut crosswise into 6 equal pieces

  • 2 cloves garlic peeled

  • 6 slices (1/3-inch-thick) drained fresh water-packed mozzarella


  • 1.

    Heat 1/4 cup of the oil in a heavy large skillet over medium heat. Add the celery and saute until crisp-tender, about 2 minutes. Add the eggplant and saute until beginning to soften, about 2 minutes. Season with salt. Add the red pepper and cook until crisp-tender, about 5 minutes. Add the onion and saute until translucent, about 3 minutes. Add the diced tomatoes with their juices, raisins, and oregano. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Simmer over medium-low heat until the flavors blend and the mixture thickens, stirring often, about 20 minutes. Add the vinegar, sugar, and capers. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.

  • 2.

    Cut the bread pieces horizontally in half. Grill the bread cut-side down on a grill pan over medium-high heat until golden, about 2 minutes. Rub the whole garlic cloves over the toasted side of the bread. Add a slice of mozzarella to bread bottom, spoon the caponata on top, cover with the other bread half, and serve.

  • 3.

    To take for a picnic: Wrap the sandwiches separately in plastic wrap or parchment paper. Chill until ready to serve, or keep at room temperature up to 1 hour.

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