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Caponata

ingredients

2 medium-sized aubergines (total weight approx. 1 1/2 lb (700g)
1 large green celery stalk
1 large onion, finely chopped
6 large black olives, stoned
6 green olives, stoned
2 - 2 1/2 tbsp capers
2 large ripe tomatoes
3 1/2 fl oz (100 ml) olive oil
pinch oregano
2 tbsp wine vinegar
1 tbsp caster sugar
2 cloves garlic
1 sprig fresh basil
salt and pepper

method

1. Trim and peel the aubergines, cut the flesh into small chunks and place them in a large bowl. Sprinkle with plenty of salt, stir well and leave to stand for 1 hour.

2. Make the sauce. Trim and wash the celery and cut it into small pieces. Fry the onion gently in 2 tbsp of the olive oil for 10 minutes, stirring frequently, add the celery, olives and capers and continue cooking over a low heat, stirring, for 2 minutes.

3. Add the coarsely chopped tomatoes, a pinch of salt, some freshly ground pepper, a pinch of oregano, the vinegar and the sugar. Cover and cook over a low heat for 20 minutes.

4. Drain off all the liquid that the salt will have drawn out of the aubergines, rinse them briefly and dry them thoroughly with kitchen paper.

5. Heat a nonstick frying pan over a moderately high heat for a few minutes; when it is very hot, add the aubergine cubes and dry-fry while stirring until they have formed a dry 'skin' which will prevent them from soaking up as much oil as usual; take them out of the frying pan and pour in 3 tbsp olive oil.

6. Crush the garlic cloves and add them to the frying pan together with the aubergine. Fry, stirring, for 3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, add 3 1/2 fl oz (100 ml) water, cover and cook for 8 minutes or until the cubes are tender but still firm.

7. Mix with the sauce and simmer over a low heat for a minute or two. Sprinkle with the basil leaves torn into small pieces and serve. Caponata may also be served chilled.

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