Twisted’s Caponata Mozzarella Sandwiches Recipe
Postponed from April, due to the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic, Twisted: A Cookbook launched last September. Themed around social occasions, which have been tricky throughout various states of lockdown, the book is split into chapters including occasions such as ‘BBQ’, ‘Hungover Saturday Breakfast’, ‘Picnic’, ‘Dinner Party’, ‘Game Day’ and ‘Curry Night’. As lockdown restrictions begin to ease, however, the book’s recipes are ideal for the milestones which will take place over the coming weeks, notably barbecues and picnics as we’re allowed to gather outside in small groups.
Created in 2016 by chef Tom Jackson and videographer Harry Bamber, Twisted has become a pioneer in the era of digital media and compelling food content, now the number one UK food and drink page on social media, with 30 million followers across platforms including TikTok, Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, and Snapchat. Twisted: A Cookbook is the pair’s first major book, with each recipe featuring an unexpected twist, embracing what the brand is all about – whether in flavour, ingredients, or the way in which the recipes are cooked or served. Highlights include the likes of ‘Spicy Cauliflower Pakora Burgers’, ‘Korean Scotch Eggs’, and ‘Caponata Mozzarella Sandwiches’ from the book’s picnic chapter.
“Caponata (a Sicilian stew, of sorts) is hugely versatile, but it is delicious in a sandwich. If you have the wherewithal, make it the day before you want to eat your sandwiches. As with lots of dishes, a long rest allows for the flavours to round out and further marry. We’ve added some good buffalo mozzarella for muscle. A couple of good salted anchovy fillets wouldn’t go amiss either.”
- Deep, heavy saucepan
- 2 small aubergines
- 3 celery sticks trimmed and sliced on an angle into 1cm chunks
- 4 tbsp good olive oil plus extra for dressing
- Neutral oil for deep frying
- 2 red onions sliced into half moons
- 2 fat cloves garlic thinly sliced
- 400 g can whole plum tomatoes drained
- 2 tbsp salted capers rinsed and drained
- 50 g black olives pitted and torn
- 2 tbsp white sugar
- 4 tbsp red wine vinegar
- 40 g pine nuts toasted
- A handful basil leaves
- Salt to taste
- Rosemary and Garlic Focaccia another recipe from the book in the Basics section, but other focaccia can be used
- 2 good-quality buffalo mozzarella balls
- Sea salt flakes to taste
- Cut the aubergines into 3cm chunks. Toss well with some salt and place in a colander or sieve to drain for 1 hour.
- Meanwhile, bring a saucepan of very well salted water to the boil, add the celery and blanch until tender to the bite, 2-3 minutes. Drain, dress with a little olive oil and set aside.
- Thoroughly rinse the aubergines under running water, then pat very dry with kitchen paper.
- Heat a 5cm depth of oil in a deep, heavy saucepan to 175 degrees Celsius. Working in batches, fry the aubergine pieces until golden brown, about 5 minutes. Drain on kitchen paper and set aside.
- In another saucepan, heat the 4 tbsp olive oil over a medium heat, add the onions and fry until they are translucent and have collapsed a little but are not browned. Push them to one side and allow the oil to run to the other side of the pan. Reduce the heat a little, add the garlic and fry until sticky but not coloured, then chuck in the blanched celery and stir to incorporate.
- Turn the heat back up to medium. Crush the drained tomatoes in your hands and add them to the pan with a small pinch of salt. Cook for 10 minutes or so, stirring often to make sure nothing catches, then add the capers, olives, sugar and vinegar. Cook for another 1 minute or so to marry the flavours and dissolve the sugar, then remove from the heat. Stir through the fried aubergines, pine nuts and basil and allow to cool.
- Transfer to a container and drizzle with a little more olive oil.
- Slice your focaccia in half and load with the caponata. Tear over the mozzarella and sprinkle with a little flaked salt.
Recipe adapted from Twisted: A Cookbook by Tom Jackson and Harry Bamber, Hodder & Stoughton (RRP £20). The book is available from Amazon and select bookshops.
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