'Violetta' sweet aubergine baked with tuna caponata
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
The sauce here is a cross between that of Pasta alla Norma and a caponata (no peppers though). A flake of tuna, and you could add anchovies as well, turn this into a fine pasta-free course to eat alone. It’s also an easy-to-serve and quick but impressive side dish. Miss out the tuna in the filling and serve it with any main, especially a roast.
Recipe type: supper, light lunch
Cuisine: Mediterranean
Serves: 6
  • 3 large round Violetta aubergines, or similar size in other varieties
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • fresh ground black pepper & sea salt
  • 1 and a half 400g cans of peeled plum tomatoes
  • a dash of balsamic vinegar
  • 1 x 200g can tuna fish in brine, drained
  • 2 tbsp capers, dry salted or in brine, rinsed and drained
  • good handful of fresh basil
  • 1 tsp fennel seeds, crushed
  1. Pre-heat oven to 200°C
  2. Prep the aubergines: wash and dry the aubergines then cut in half across the diameter. Using a small paring knife, cut around each half to core the flesh, but leave a good centimeter of flesh in from the skin. Remove the aubergine flesh and dice roughly. Place the cored aubergines on a baking tray, season and drizzle a little olive oil inside.
  3. Heat around 3 tbsps olive oil in a large, heavy-based frying pan or cast iron skillet over a medium-hot heat. Toss in the diced aubergine. Wait for it to sizzle and brown a little then flip the cubes over, ensuring they brown evenly (but don’t let them burn). Reduce heat and add the crushed garlic cloves.
  4. Add the tinned tomatoes and balsamic vinegar and turn up the heat so the tomatoes cook quickly. You don’t need all the canned tomato juice so add more only if the sauce is too dry. Reduce heat and simmer for around 5 minutes.
  5. Flake in the canned (drained) tuna, and toss in the capers and some ripped basil leaves. Simmer until the tuna is heated through.
  6. Fill the aubergines with the sauce, sprinkling over some crushed fennel seeds, a few more capers and some more basil. Drizzle with a litle more olive oil and bake in the oven for 30-40 minutes until the outer flesh is baked. If need be, cover half way through to prevent the topping browning too much. Serve with more fresh basil and some crushed fennel seeds (if desired) on top and a little more oil drizzled over.
  7. Serve as a side dish to a main like fish, or as lunch dish or starter accompanied with salad.
Recipe by The Red Bistro at https://theredbistro.com/2013/02/22/aubergine-violetta-baked-with-tuna-caponata/