Eggplants are one of my most favorite vegetables. They can be prepared in so many ways, and in each they demonstrate a new flavor and texture, as in the following recipe.
These pickles are mostly known in the Italian cuisine, but there are many variations, from other sources as well.
The process takes a bit of time, but the actual work is fairly minimal. The result is tender eggplant pieces, with tangy-salty flavor, and wonderful oregano and garlic aroma, all wrapped in olive oil.
Preparing these at home allows for adjusting the flavors to your personal preferences, when it comes to the salt level, amount of garlic, etc.
These tasty eggplant pieces make a great topping for bruschetta, and work well as a sandwich filler, with cold cuts and/or cheeses. They can also be used to top a salad, or a pasta dish, or served aside grilled meats. Try it and enjoy.
* Other herbs can be used instead of the oregano.
* The aromatic olive oil left in the jar after using the eggplant, is wonderful for preparing salad dressings.
Makes: about 2 cups
Prep time: 20 minutes
Draining time: 4 hours or overnight
Cooking time: 15 minutes
Marinating time: minimum 1 week
1 large eggplant
1½ Tbs salt
½ cup white wine vinegar
½ tsp freshly ground four peppers mix
1 Tbs dried oregano
2-3 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
3-4 bay leaves
About 1 cup olive oil
- Peel the eggplant and slice it lengthwise, into 4 fairly thick slices. Cut each slice into smaller sections, and place in a colander. Sprinkle with 1 Tbs of salt, and mix well. Let drain for at least 4 hours, preferably overnight.
- Taking a handful of pieces at a time, squeeze more liquids off the eggplant. Measure 1½ cups and place in a medium pot. Add the vinegar, and water to cover. Mix and bring to a boil over high heat. Lower the heat to medium, and cook for 5 minutes. Taste one piece, to determine if more salt is needed, and add salt the ground pepper.
- Lower the heat to low. Cook for 5-7 minutes longer, until the eggplant is soft, but still firm. Transfer to a colander, drain and let cool a bit. Press gently, to get rid of more liquids.
- Sprinkle a bit of the oregano at the bottom of a sanitized 2 cups jar. Add a bit of the garlic, and a layer of eggplant. Layer the rest of eggplant, oregano and garlic until all is used. Press down gently, pour half of the olive oil over and press gently again. Pass a dull knife around the sides, to get rid of air pockets.
- Place the bay leaves on top. Pour the rest of the olive oil, to cover completely, and seal the jar. Keep at room temperature, in a dark place, for at least one week before opening.