A slightly healthier version of the classic Sicilian caponata where the aubergines are simmered in plenty of olive oil on the stove top.
Sprinkling the aubergines in salt reduces the amount of oil they soak up and roasting the vegetables brings out a good, rich flavour, enhanced with a sprinkling of cocoa powder.
It works best with a younger balsamic vinegar or red wine vinegar could be used if preferred.
It should be serve either warm or at room temperature but it can be made in advance and kept in the fridge for up to two days before reheating.
It makes a great side dish for a barbecue, can be tossed with pasta for a veggie main meal or eaten my favourite way, by just grabbing a spoon and tucking in!
2-3 medium aubergines,
1-2 tablespoon salt
1 red onion, chopped
1 red pepper, chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed
3-4 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon capers
100 g black and green olives
400 g tomatoes, chopped
3 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon cocoa powder
chopped basil leaves to garnish
Preheat the oven to 190C/Gas 5.
Cut the aubergine into largish chunks, place in a colander and sprinkle with salt. Leave for about 30 minutes, then rinse and pat dry with paper towels.
Place aubergine, onion and red pepper in a large ovenproof dish or roasting tin, and sprinkle with the garlic and toss with olive oil. Season with salt and plenty of black pepper.
Roast in the oven for 30 minutes, tossing occasionally, until the vegetables start to tenderise and brown.
Stir in the capers, olives, tomatoes, vinegar, sugar and cocoa powder. Mix well and return to the oven for a further 20-30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until everything is very tender.
Remove from the oven and set aside to cool. Serve either warm or at room temperature garnished with the basil leaves.