Do you relish the idea of pickling for the very first time? Do you marvel at the memory of nonna and her secret stash of homemade canned goodies? Whether motivated by curiosity, nostalgia or preserving your culinary legacy, this recipe is a win!
Melanzane sott’olio is a classic Italian side dish that adds some wonderful spice to sandwiches, pairs beautifully with marinated meats— and makes for a really flavorful antipasto.
There are two key must-haves in creating an amazing pickled eggplant. One is simply time— time that you should spend sleeping, getting a mani-pedi, reading or whatever your heart desires.
The second involves technique— finding the best way to remove bitter excess vegetable water. There are endless variations out there; some require the eggplant to purge over night anywhere from 8-12 hours. You’ll also need a lot of manpower— rinsing, squeezing…you get the idea.
Then, there are ways to speed up the draining process to a 3 hour production without sacrificing taste. And that, my foodie friends, is the method you will find here. Oh yes!
Back in the hills of Sicily, my mother-in-law has relied upon one item to do the job— a hefty flour bag. I will clearly explain all that in a moment. But first, it’s best to visualize everything from prepping to jarring. And for that, I’ve broken the recipe down into two distinct activities — “Me Time” vs. “Go Time.
That’s two hours and ten minutes of work, with about five and a half hours of play. Pronti? Are you ready? Check it out!:
GO TIME: 1 hour to slice, salt, layer, cover and weigh down the eggplant.
ME TIME: 3 hours to do just about anything while the eggplant drains.
GO TIME: 5 minutes to cook the eggplant in boiling water and white wine vinegar.
ME TIME: 2 hours to hang out while the eggplant dries out.
GO TIME: 5 minutes to prep jars for sterilization.
ME TIME: 30-35 minutes to make those jars ever so shiny and clean.
FINAL STRETCH: 1 hour to layer, season and seal up that pretty concoction.
Ready to get your pickle party on? Then check out the prep work here below. For step by step instructions on cooking and jarring look further down! Oh! And don’t forget to view the images on layering your eggplant under the “How to” tab!
SALTING AND DRAINING THE EGGPLANT:
- Peel and slice your eggplant into thin 3-4 inch long pieces.
- Lay a dish towel over a large plate and place an even layer of sliced eggplant on top. Salt at will.
- Cover the eggplant with another dish towel. Then, add another layer of eggplant, salt and repeat as necessary. Remember, you want to create layers, not the Alps.
- Place a dish towel over your top layer, then cover with a large flat dish.
- Carefully rest an unopened flour bag horizontally on top of that flat dish. The added weight will get those bitter juices out and absorbed by the dish towels below.
- Let rest for 3 hours. (Check out the cooking and jarring process below under “instructions”.) ALSO here’s how you…
STERILIZE YOUR JARS:
- Using hot water and dish soap, wash jars and lids thoroughly.
- Place a dishcloth at the base of a large pot and place empty jars right side up.
- Add another dishcloth in between jars to prevent breakage during boiling.
- Fill jars with water first (this method prevents them from floating as you fill the pot with water).
- Then slowly fill entire pot with water, completely covering jars by an inch of water.
- Bring water to a boil over high heat.
- Once it begins to boil, lower the flame and let boil for another 30 minutes.
- Add lids about ten minutes before you turn off the flame.
- Remove from flame and let cool a bit.
- Use tongs to carefully empty and remove the jars.
- Place them open-side up, on a clean kitchen towel for a few minutes.