"So many Mediterranean countries have methods of preserving vegetables when they’re at their best and the simplicity of the Italian method as shared by our friend Melbourne GP Pietro Demaio creates new tastes and textures. This eggplant recipe is gold. Easy and delicious and well worth a try at the end of summer when eggplant is plentiful and cheap." Maeve O'Meara, Food Safari Earth
This eggplant recipe is gold. Easy and delicious and well worth a try at the end of summer when eggplant is plentiful and cheap.
- 6 eggplants
- ½ kg non-iodised table salt
- 500 ml (2 cups) good quality white wine vinegar
- 1 tbsp dried oregano
- 1 tsp chilli flakes
- 5-6 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- extra virgin olive oil, to cover
- bricks to weigh down
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Standing time: 36 hours, plus 3 months pickling time
Makes 8-9 x 360 g jars
Slice the eggplants lengthwise into 3-4 mm-thick slices, then slice again into 5 mm-thick strips. Layer the eggplant strips into a large colander, covering each layer liberally with salt. Toss to coat well, then place the colander over a bowl and place a large plate on top of the eggplant. Place a weight of about 10 kg (or 4 bricks) on the plate and stand the eggplant to drain for 24 hours. They will produce a salty, dark liquid. Drain and discard the liquid.
Remove the bricks and loosen the slightly dry eggplant strips with your hands. Pour over the vinegar and mix thoroughly. Allow to stand for 1 hour. Replace the plate and weights, then stand for a further 12 hours. Discard the drained vinegar, then squeeze the strips by hand and place into a large bowl. Add the oregano, chilli and garlic and combine well.
Meanwhile, sterilise 8-9 x 360 g glass jars and their lids.
When ready to pack the eggplant, pour 2-3 tablespoons olive oil into each of the sterilised jars. Divide the eggplant mixture among the jars, adding a small amount of olive oil as you press down to ensure that the oil is evenly distributed throughout the jar. When the jars are nearly filled, press firmly and cover with olive oil, ensuring that you have no eggplant above the oil level. Check after 2-3 days to ensure that you do not have to top them up with oil as the eggplant will absorb some of the oil and you may need to top up the jars. Seal and store in a cool dark place. These are best eaten after 3 months as they are still sharp and crunchy. They will last for up to 12 months but they will not be at their peak.