Roast the peppers
. Heat the oven to 180 C. Rub the red
peppers with olive oil and place skin-side down on a baking tray. Sprinkle the
inside with a little olive oil the garlic slivers. Roast for 20 minutes or
until soft. Remove from oven, place with juices in a bowl and immediately cover
with plastic. Peel the skins when cool enough to handle. Reserve all juices, but discard
Sauté the onion in a dash of olive oil for 5 minutes. Take
care not to brown or fry onions. Sprinkle with sugar and add vinegar to the
pan. Let the mixture reduce over a low heat until it is slightly syrupy.
Remove from heat.
Meanwhile, in another pan, add a
little olive oil and in batches fry the aubergine until golden and cooked
through. The secret is to use as little oil as possible when browning the
aubergine. Drain on kitchen paper if very oily.
Return the aubergine to the same
pan, and add the tomatoes. Stir-fry for a minute or two. You just want the
tomato to be warmed, not cooked soft. Add the onion mixture, the capers and the
olives. When warm, stir in the grated chocolate so that it melts into the
juices. Season with salt and black pepper. Roughly
chop the peeled red pepper and add with all its juices to caponata. Drizzle
with a glug of olive oil.
Taste and check seasoning. The
caponata should be slightly sour, a bit sweet and full of rich flavour. I like
it quite sharp, but some people prefer to add a bit more sugar at this point.
with chopped basil and pine nuts. Serve at once while warm with crusty bread as
a starter or as a main course with lentil burgers and flatbreads.
Reprinted with permission
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