Melanzane al Forno

Baked Aubergines

From Apulia comes this deliciously summery aubergine dish. It’s got all the flavours of the south – capers, olives, pecorino cheese and of course the velvety rich, Eastern texture and taste of the wonderful aubergine.

Ingredients

  • 4 smallish aubergines
  • 4 tablespoons fresh breadcrumbs
  • 4 tablespoons grated pecorino or Parmesan cheese
  • 55 g (2 oz) black olives, stoned and chopped
  • 5 tablespoons olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • a handful of fresh parsley, finely chopped
  • a handful of capers, washed and chopped
  • a handful of dried breadcrumbs

Method

Cut the aubergines in half lengthways. Very carefully scoop out the pulp with a small spoon. Chop the pulp and prepare as in vegetable section of glossary. Mix it up with the fresh breadcrumbs and the cheese. Mix in the olives and fry this mixture in half the oil for 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, drop the 8 half aubergines into a pan of boiling salted water and cook for 5 minutes. Stir the parsley, capers and remaining oil into the fried mixture. Taste and season generously.

Drain and dry the halved aubergines very carefully, then spoon in the filling mixture. Arrange the filled aubergines in an oiled ovenproof dish and scatter the dried breadcrumbs on the top. Bake in a hot oven (200°C, 400°F, gas mark 6) for 20 minutes. Serve hot or cold as an excellent antipasto or as part of an all-vegetable meal.

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