3celery stickstrimmed and sliced on an angle into 1cm chunks
4tbspgood olive oilplus extra for dressing
Neutral oil for deep frying
2red onionssliced into half moons
2fat cloves garlicthinly sliced
400gcan whole plum tomatoesdrained
2tbspsalted capersrinsed and drained
50gblack olivespitted and torn
4tbspred wine vinegar
A handful basil leaves
Rosemary and Garlic Focacciaanother recipe from the book in the Basics section, but other focaccia can be used
2good-quality buffalo mozzarella balls
Sea salt flakesto 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.