This is one of my favourite things to cook and eat. I first came across it in the cookbook ‘Community’ by Hettie McKinnon and since making it her way, I have chopped and changed and added and subtracted and now this is the way I make it. The capsicum sofrito, which is like a capsicum jam, is such a wonderful staple. It works warm or cold, in a salad, on a pizza, as a pasta sauce base, as a spread in sandwiches and as a dip, or as a base for chicken or fish. I always make more than I need for this salad and find all sorts of ways to use it. It does take time to simmer down and become jammy but not all that much effort is required aside from stirring occasionally. You can freeze the sofrito and bring to room temperature to defrost when needed, or it keeps in the fridge for 3 days. I love the combination of the eggplant with the capsicum, but zucchini, cauliflower or any other roast vegetable will work too. Hetty adds chickpeas into the mix which makes it a substantial vegetarian dish. Crumbled feta is also a nice addition over the top.
Roast Eggplant with Capsicum Sofrito
1/3 cup olive oil
2 large brown onions, finely diced
5-6 large capsicums, seeded and finely diced (I usually use red but orange and yellow or a combination of all three would also work nicely)
400g can of peeled tomatoes
a big pinch of salt
4 eggplant, cut into 2cm cubes
olive oil spray
a handful of parsley, chopped
a handful of basil leaves, roughly torn
a handful of roast tamari almonds, roughly chopped
crumbed feta – optional
Place the oil, onions and salt in a large fry pan (I use a Bessamer) over medium heat and cook for 10 minutes or until onions are soft but not coloured. Add the capsicum and cook for another 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the tomatoes, turn down the heat and cook for a further 1.5-2 hours or until the mixture becomes thick and jammy. You can then use, store in the fridge for 3 days or freeze and defrost when needed.
Preheat the oven to 200C. Place the eggplant over 2 lined baking trays, spray with oil and bake for 30-40 minutes until soft and golden.
Toss the sofrito and eggplant together until combined. Top with fresh herbs, chopped nuts and feta is desired. Serve warm or at room temperature.