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Neapolitan Stuffed Aubergines

ingredients

2 long large aubergines (total weight approx. 1 1/2 lb (600 g)
2 cloves garlic
9 black olives
1 - 2 tbsp capers
1/2 tbsp finely chopped parsley
1 1/2 tbsp finely chopped basil
3 drained tinned tomatoes, seeds removed
2 tbsp wine vinegar approx.
3 oz (80 g) fine dry breadcrumbs
olive oil
salt and pepper

serve with:

grilled meat, poultry or fish steaks

method

1. Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C) mark 6.

2. Bring a large saucepan three-quarters full of salted water, acidulated with the wine vinegar, to the boil. Rinse and dry the aubergines, cut off the ends and slice lengthwise in half.

3. Scoop out the flesh, leaving a layer about 1/4 in (7 mm) next to the skin. Blanch the hollowed skins in the saucepan of boiling water for 1 minute, drain and place upside down on a clean cloth.

4. Cut the flesh into small, thick slices or dice. Heat 3 tbsp olive oil in a wide, non-stick frying pan over a moderately high heat and fry 2 crushed garlic cloves together with the dried aubergine flesh for 2 minutes, stirring with a spatula.

5. Season with salt and freshly ground pepper, cover and reduce the heat to low; cook gently for 15 minutes, adding 2 tbsp of hot water if the mixture shows signs of becoming too dry.

6. During this time, stone and chop the olives. Remove the aubergine mixture from the heat and stir in the olives, capers, parsley and basil, adding a little more salt and pepper if wished. Fill the drained skins with this stuffing and cover with strips of tomato flesh.

7. Sprinkle with a very little salt and a little olive oil and top with a light covering of breadcrumbs. Place the aubergines in an oiled ovenproof dish or small roasting tin and bake for 15 minutes.

8. Brown under a very hot grill for 2 - 3 minutes. Serve hot or warm.

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