Remove the stalks from the aubergines. Dice, put in a colander, and sprinkle with the salt. Leave to drain for an hour or so. Rinse, and rub dry in a clean tea towel. Fry until golden brown, remove from the oil, drain, and put to one side.
In the remaining oil, gently fry the onion, celery and garlic until soft, and then add the tomatoes, olives and capers, and simmer for 20 to 30 minutes.
Stir in the vinegar, sugar and cocoa, bring to the boil, simmer for 5 minutes, remove from the heat, and allow to cool.
Season to taste, cover, and keep in a cool place or refrigerator for 24 hours to allow the flavours to develop. Serve garnished with the almonds, and perhaps some flat parsley leaves. I like this best cold, but it can be served hot, and is very good with rice, pasta or good bread.
© 2000 Frances Bissell. All rights reserved.