1. The aubergines are best cooked over a flame, so if you’re doing a barbeque you can cook them on that. Alternatively, if you have a gas oven, you can cook them on the hob over a gas ring, or under a flame grill (less messy). If you have no access to a naked flame, then you’ll have to cook them in the oven, but you miss the smokiness unfortunately.
2. Turn them regularly over/under the flame until they start to ‘collapse’. At the beginning they are hard and resistant and sound solid when you tap them. As they cook, they made maintain their shape but start to sound hollow as the inside cooks down. At some point they’ll probably collapse, juice will start to run out, or they may even pop. Once they are like that all round, they are done. Take them off the fire.
3. Now you need to peel them. I usually find that if I pop them into a plastic container with the lid on for five minutes, the skins comes of a little easier (same trick can be used with roasted peppers). However you do it, chop off the tail, peel off the skin, and put the cooked flesh to one side and repeat with each of the aubergines.
4. Check you’ve removed any little bits of skin, put the aubergines on a chopping board and with a large heavy knife, chop them up until you get a puree. Then elevate one side of the chopping board and allow the juice to drain off (into the sink) for 30 minutes or more. If you’re in a hurry, you can dump the flesh into a sieve and squeeze the juice out.
5. Very finely chop the onion.
6. Put the drained aubergine into a bowl and start to slowly drizzle in the oil. Beat it in well with a fork until you get a nice smooth puree, probably between about 3-5 tablespoons, depending how well you drained the flesh.
7. Add the onion, vinegar, and a teaspoon of salt and mix it well. Taste for seasoning and adjust. Garnish with parsley leaves, slices of tomato or slices of green pepper.
8. It’s now ready to eat or can be put into a bowl and kept in the fridge for a few days.