I’ve come across some dodgy undercooked aubergines in my day, and always got slightly weirded out by instructions telling you to salt them to take the bitterness out first. And maybe one day I’ll find a recipe for cooking them that doesn’t involve a fair whack more oil than seems healthy, but in the mean time these taste so good that I don’t really care.
(serves 2 as meals, or 4 as starter)
1 large onion, finely sliced vertically
1 red pepper, chopped and seeded
3 large tomatoes, skinned and chopped
6 garlic cloves, finely chopped
Bunch fresh parsley, finely chopped
150ml olive oil
4 tbsp water
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp sugar
- Halve the aubergines lengthways. Sprinkle with salt and leave for 10 minutes. Rinse off the salt and juices, pat dry and place the halves side by side, flesh side up, in a wide saucepan.
- Mix the onion, tomatoes, pepper, garlic and herbs in a bowl with 1 tsp salt and a little of the oil.
- Carefully pile the mixture on top of each halved aubergine until all the flesh is covered.
- Mix the rest of the oil with the water, lemon juice, and sugar and pour it over and around. Cover the pan and cook gently over a low heat for 1 1/2-2 hours.
- Baste occasionally with the oil, pushing the onion and tomato mixture down into the halves as they cook. The aubergines should end up soft and flat, sitting in a golden, slightly caramelised pool of oil.
- Drain off the oil and serve cold – keeps in the fridge for a couple of days.