Caramelized Eggplant Caponata

2 medium white eggplant (you can also use Japanese eggplant)
1 leek
1 Spanish onion
4 Tbl olive oil
2 Tbl red hot pepper sauce
1 C sweet vermouth
1 Tbl garlic powder
1 pint roasted cherry tomatoes (cut in half, season with salt, cook for 1 hour at 200 F)
1/2 C marinated green pitted olives
2 Tbl caramelized peppers ( I used jarred peppers)

Dice the eggplant into small pieces and place in a strainer. Sprinkle the eggplant with salt and place a heavy dish on top of the eggplant to weigh it down. This will help to remove some of the liquid from the eggplant.

Thinly slice the leek (only the white and light green part) and onion. Leeks need to be soaked in a bowl of water to remove any sand or dirt that may be between the layers of the leek.

In a preheated, cast iron pan, saute the leek and onion with 2 Tbl of olive oil over high heat. After 1 minute, reduce the heat and add a pinch of salt.

Once the onion and leek start to caramelized, add the pepper sauce and cook for an additional 2 minutes.

Deglaze with 1/2 C of sweet vermouth, let the liquid cook out a bit, then remove from heat and place the leeks and onions in a separate bowl.

Add the remaining 2 Tbl of olive oil back into the pan and add the eggplant and cook over medium-high heat. Add garlic powder, roasted cherry tomatoes, olives, and leek and onion mixture. Deglaze with remaining sweet vermouth and reduce heat to low, until liquid evaporates.

This dish is great to serve with toast and crackers, like pita chips or to be used as a topping.

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