Begin by preparing the tomatoes. I boil them for a couple of minutes, until I see the skin start to crack. I then remove from boiling water and let them cool down a bit. Once they are cool enough to touch, I can easily peel off the skin. Cut in half, remove the seeds and then continue to chop.
In a deep frying pan, heat up about two ounces of olive oil over a medium flame. Once the oil is hot, add in the eggplant and stir for about one minute. If the eggplant has soaked up the olive oil, add about another two ounces. Continue to cook for another three minutes, making sure to stir frequently. Remove from the pan and set aside.
In the same pan, drizzle in about an ounce of olive oil and add in the garlic and onion. Saute for about two minutes.
Next, add in the hot pepper, olives, capers, sugar, vinegar, and the plum tomatoes. Lower the flame to medium/low, stir together and then add sea salt and black pepper, to taste. Stir together and then add in the eggplant. Once boiling, lower the flame to a simmer and cook for about ten minutes, stirring occasionally.
If you plan to eat your caponata once it is ready, you can prepare your bread at this point. Slice a few pieces of bread and toast in the oven.
After the caponata has cooked for about ten minutes, add in the basil. I like to rip up a few leaves by hand and then stir together. Continue to cook for another eight to ten minutes over a very low flame, stirring occasionally.
Remove from the stove top and serve as an appetizer on top of toasted bread. This can be enjoyed hot or cold so you can store it overnight and enjoy the next day! Tastes delicious either way. Salute and cin cin!