Melanzane Sott’Olio (Pickled Eggplant with Oil)

I seem to be on an antipasto kick lately. More like trying to preserve some of my veg before it dies on me. I just canned a couple jars of tomatoes as well.

I tried to find a pickled eggplant recipe that included oil like how I remember from growing up Italiano. Nice and salty but sour from the vinegar, and mellowed out by the olive oil. The eggplant takes on a kind of leathery chewy texture and its just so delicious on its own or a slice of bread. I ended up finding a recipe from the blog Cookbook Archaeology. I’m totally sold on photos, and hers looked amazing, so I used her recipe. Worked out pretty good, but for some weird reason, my eggplant – after draining – turned soooo brown, and hers looks so fresh and white still. Hopefully mines edible :)

Those are the two gigantic watermelon-sized eggplants that fit into two pint jars!

Yes that is a 3 gallon glass water bottle that I’m using to weigh down my eggplant. I was afraid that plate would crack!

All that eggplant now fits under this plate?!?

… guess so! Looking a little flat.

Fluffed up

Eggplant, garlic and basil, getting ready for a toss in olive oil. S said they look like worms. I agree.

Melanzane Sott’Olio (Pickled Eggplant)

Recipe adapted from Cookbook Archaeology’s Marie’s Melanzane Sott’Olio

2 large globe (or American) eggplants, peeled
About 2-3 tbsp salt (for salting eggplant)
Cider vinegar (about 32 oz.)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp. chopped fresh basil (optional)
1 tbsp crushed dried red pepper flakes (optional)
3 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1 whole bay leaf, halved garlic and additional olive oil

1. Slice the eggplant into matchstick strips and really salt them. Toss and place a weighted plate on the salted eggplant to speed up the draining process and to squeeze out as much liquid as you can. I left this overnight.
2. Soak sliced eggplant in cider vinegar for 1-2 hours. Eggplant should just be covered.
3. Strain eggplant and squeeze out all of the vinegar.
4. Toss with olive oil, garlic and red pepper flakes.
5. Pack the eggplant in jar, really pack it in so it releases some of the juices too. Add olive oil to cover, and place a whole bay leaf and halved garlic on top for flavor. Cover and keep in the fridge; try to wait about three days before digging in, to let the flavours meld.

Please note: this recipe is not USDA-approved for long-term storage, even if you do water bath process the jars (which I don’t know the correct timing for). So keep it in the fridge if you are worried about it.