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Recipe from: 26 January 2011

Ingredients 14
Servings 4
Time 10 mins


  • 1/3
    extra virgin olive oil (good quality)
  • 2
    large red peppers, quartered and seeded
  • 1
    clove garlic, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1
    large red onion, chopped (or use shallots)
  • 1
    large aubergine, cut into cubes
  • 2
    ripe roma tomatoes, seeded and diced (or 8 – 10 very ripe rosa tomatoes quartered)
  • 4
    large green olives, pitted and roughly chopped (black is fine too)
  • 2
  • 1/3
    basil leaves, roughly shredded
  • 1/3
    red wine vinegar
  • 2
    brown sugar
  • 5
    70% dark chocolate, grated
  • handful
    pine nuts, toasted
  • salt flakes and freshly ground black pepper


30 mins
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 skin.

Sauté onions
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.

Fry aubergine 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.

Combine 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.

Scatter 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 of Forage.
To visit Forage’s blog, click here.



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