#MeatfreeMonday – Rich Aubergine Caponata
by Lindsay Anderson
With Autumn just around the corner, this is a deliciously, cosy supper dish.
5 large vine tomatoes
4 tbsp olive oil, plus extra for the final bake
1 red onion, peeled and finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
Large handful each of parsley and marjoram or thyme leaves, chopped
2 tbsp capers in brine, plus a little of the brine from the jar
Handful of kalamata or other juicy black olives, stoned and roughly chopped
2 tbsp red-wine vinegar
½-1 tsp brown sugar, depending on sweetness of tomatoes
4 tbsp breadcrumbs, optional
3-4 tbsp finely grated parmesan
Preheat the oven to 200C/400F/gas mark 6. Slice the two largest aubergines in half lengthways and score them in a 0.5cm-deep criss-cross pattern, salt and leave to drain upside down over a wire rack for 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, top and tail the other two aubergines, cut into 2-3cm rough cubes, salt and drain in a colander for 20 minutes. While they are draining, cover the tomatoes with boiling water, leave for 30 seconds, drain and peel. Roughly chop the flesh.
Rinse and pat the aubergine dry. Scoop out the flesh of the four halves and place the boat-like skins on a baking tray. Drizzle with a tablespoon of olive oil, season with salt and pepper and roast for 20-25 minutes until soft.
Heat a wide, heavy-bottomed saucepan over a high heat and add all the remaining aubergine flesh with the rest of the oil and some salt. Cook on a high heat for five to 10 minutes until turning golden, stirring every minute or so. Add the red onion, garlic and herbs and cook for a further five minutes, adding a splash more oil if needed. Add the capers and olives, followed by the tomatoes and vinegar. Season with salt, pepper and the sugar, and simmer for about 15 minutes, until thick and tender. Taste and adjust the seasoning.
Spoon a generous helping of caponata into the aubergine boats, sprinkle with the breadcrumbs and parmesan and drizzle with a little extra olive oil. Put back in the oven and roast until the breadcrumbs are golden and crunchy and the parmesan has melted.
Serve with rice and a sprinkling of fresh parsley.
Source: The Guardian – Thomasina Miers