1 bunch of basil, stalks and leaves separated and chopped
1 large aubergine
olive oil, for deep-frying
100g/3½oz plain flour
2 free-range eggs, beaten
200g/7oz buffalo mozzarella, sliced
200g/7oz smoked mozzarella, grated
2 beef tomatoes, thinly sliced
2 tbsp olive oil, to serve
2 tbsp basil leaves, deep-fried, to serve
Cut the Sicilian aubergine in half and scoop the insides into a bowl. Salt and place in a colander to drain. Once drained, place back in the bowl.
Heat the red wine vinegar and sugar in a saucepan. Add the passata, plum tomatoes and basil stalks. Simmer for 20 minutes, or until thickened.
Peel the other aubergine and cut the peelings into thin strips. Fill a deep saucepan two-thirds with oil (CAUTION: hot oil can be dangerous. Do not leave unattended.) Carefully deep-fry the aubergine strips until crisp, remove with a slotted spoon and set aside on kitchen paper to drain.
Preheat the oven to 180C/160C Fan/Gas 4.
Slice the remaining aubergine flesh into rounds and place the flour and egg in two separate wide bowls. Dredge aubergine rounds in the flour and egg. Heat the oil again in a deep saucepan and deep-fry the rounds until golden. Remove the aubergine rounds with a slotted spoon and set aside on kitchen paper. Season with salt.
Stir the passata sauce into the Sicilian aubergine bowl. In a large baking dish, start layering in the sauce, two mozzarellas, Parmesan (reserving some for the top), basil leaves and fried aubergine rounds. Finish with some sauce and the beef tomatoes. Top with the remaining Parmesan.
Bake for 40–60 minutes, or until the Sicilian aubergine is soft and cooked and the top is golden.
Garnish with the olive oil, deep-fried basil leaves and aubergine peel crisps and serve.
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