Caponata di melanzane (Aubergine Caponata)

extra-vergin olive oil, for frying
2 large aubergines, peeled and cut into 2.5cm cubes
2 peppers cut in slices
3 stalks celery, strings removed, finely sliced

1 large onion, chopped
200 g pitted black olives, each cut into 3 pieces
100 g capers, rinsed and drained
5 pachino tomatoes
1 tbsp sugar
100 ml white wine vinegar
chopped fresh basil, to garnish

Heat 4 tablespoons of oil in a large deep frying pan. Fry the diced aubergines and peppers, one layer at a time, until golden brown, turning often. Remove from the pan using a slotted spoon and drain well on kitchen paper. Season lightly with salt.
Meanwhile, in a pan of boiling salted water, blanch the celery for 1 minute, then drain and refresh under cold running water. Pat dry.
In a large frying pan, sauté the celery and onion in 6 tablespoons olive oil until golden brown, stirring occasionally. Add the olives, capers, pachino, sugar and vinegar. Season with freshly ground black pepper and a pinch of salt.
Gently stir in the fried aubergine and peppers, simmering for 2-3 minutes before spooning into a large bowl to cool.
Spoon the caponata into a serving bowl, sprinkle with chopped fresh basil