Sicilian-style Eggplant Caponata

3 pounds eggplant, diced into 1-inch pieces
3 T kosher salt
4 red peppers, seeds removed and diced
1 red onion, small dice
12 cloves garlic, sliced
8 large figs, diced
½ cup taggiasca olives (or a large purple olive), pitted and roughly chopped
3 T capers, drained and rinsed
4 sprigs torn basil
2 T sugar
¼ cup sherry vinegar
1 tsp crushed red pepper
Salt and black pepper, to taste

  1. Salt the eggplant and set aside for 1 hour. Squeeze to remove any excess liquid.
  2. Heat a heavy-bottomed pot or skillet over medium-high until lightly smoking. Pour in ¼ cup olive oil and add the eggplant. When the eggplant starts to brown on all sides, add the peppers, onion, and garlic, and cook until softened. Stir in the figs, olives, capers, and crushed red pepper, and cook for approximately 2 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium, add sugar and vinegar, and allow mixture to cook for another 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the basil. Adjust seasoning if necessary with salt and pepper.
  3. This dish is great hot, cold, or at room temperature.