1. Heat 1 cup avocado oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Fry 1 pound eggplant (½-inch cubes in batches until browned); transfer to paper towels and set aside. Discard all but 2 tablespoons oil from the skillet. Turn heat to medium.

2. Add half of a small onion and 1 rib celery, both finely chopped. Season with salt, stirring until onions begin to brown. Add 1 ½ tablespoons tomato paste mixed with 2 tablespoons water; stir-fry until almost evaporated. Add ½ cup crushed tomatoes and cook
for 10 minutes. Turn heat to low; stir in 1?3 cup balsamic vinegar, ¼ cup golden raisins, 2 tablespoons rinsed and drained salt-cured capers, 1 tablespoon brown sugar, and 2 ounces unsweetened chocolate chips. Cook until thickened, 10 to 15 minutes.

3. Transfer mixture to a bowl. Add eggplant, 2 tablespoons toasted pine nuts, ¼ cup thinly sliced basil, and ¼ cup olive oil; toss to combine. Serve on crackers with goat cheese and more basil.

—Illustrations by Peter James Field

This article was originally published in 5280 August 2015.

Callie Sumlin
Callie Sumlin

Callie Sumlin is a writer living in Westminster, and has been covering food and sustainability in the Centennial State for more than five years.