I first discovered this delicious pickled eggplant dish on The Mother Earth News website. I could not believe how delicious this turned out to be, perfect on sandwiches, in a wrap, or diced and added to a salad (with some of the garlic infused oil) for a zesty kick. The flavour and texture is similar to commercially marinated artichoke hearts and, as such, can be used on pizzas as well. In fact, throw it in any recipe where you are looking for a tangy garlic addition to the flavour. You won’t be disappointed.
I’ve honoured the ingredients of the recipe as is because the flavours are amazing. However, the original recipe calls for the eggplant to be progressively pressed and drained over 3 days using a wooden grape press. With no grape press in sight I had to improvise and use my Japanese pickle press instead.
So instead of allowing the liquid to drain off over the 3 days as you would with a grape press, I let the eggplant ferment in it’s brine then continued on with the rest of the recipe. I’ve never tasted the original, but the fermented version is a winner in my book.
This condiment is very easy to make but it is done in 3 stages over a period of about 5 days. Then it is best left to sit for another 2 weeks to allow the flavours to mingle. The ingredients list below will yield one 500 ml jar worth of pickles so if your present supply starts getting below the halfway mark you’d better get cracking on your next batch.
Peel the eggplant and slice into ¼ inch rounds and lay the rounds out on baking pans. Thoroughly salt both sides of the pieces and let them sit for 30 minutes.
After the 30 minutes transfer the eggplant to your press–do not rinse the salt off. Allow the eggplant to sit for 3 days.
This pickle press is not as strong as a grape press so it will take a while for the liquid to release, but after 3 days your eggplant will have released enough liquid to look like this.
Remove the eggplant from the brine and squeeze out any remaining liquid. Peel the pieces apart and transfer to a large glass container. Cover with enough vinegar to fully immerse the eggplant (about 2 cups) and weigh down the eggplant with a clean plate. Cover with a clean cloth and let sit for another 2 days.
Drain the eggplant slices and discard the vinegar. Gently squeeze the eggplant to remove excess vinegar. In a large bowl, mix 1/2 of the oil with the garlic, chilli flakes and oregano. Coat the eggplant in the oil and seasonings.
Fill your sterilized jar with the eggplant mix and cover with a ½ inch oil on top. Cap the jar and store at room temperature for 2 to 3 weeks before eating.
So this recipe takes a little time but it’s well worth the wait. Try it for yourself and let me know how it turns out.
- 3 medium eggplants, sliced into ¼ inch slices
- ¼ cup salt
- 2 cups distilled vinegar
- 1 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 5 cloves of garlic
- a pinch of oregano
- a pinch of red chilli flakes
- Peel the eggplant and cut into 1/4-inch rounds. Lay the slices out across a couple of baking sheets and season both sides evenly with the salt. Let sit for 30 minutes.
- Transfer the slices to a clean mason jar or pickle press. Pack the eggplant into the jar/press in circular, overlapping layers (do not pat dry first). Apply weights or press until eggplant is submerged in brine. Cover and let sit for 3 days.
- Remove the eggplant slices and discard the liquid. Transfer the eggplant to a glass container and pour in enough vinegar to cover completely. Let the eggplant soak for 2 days.
- Sterilize 1 500ml jar in simmering water for a few minutes.
- Drain the eggplant slices and discard the vinegar. Gently squeeze the eggplant to remove excess vinegar.
- In a large bowl, mix 1/2 of the oil with the garlic, chilli flakes and oregano.
- Coat the eggplant in the oil and seasonings.
- Create stacks of eggplant of about 1 – 1½ inches high and transfer them to the sterilized jar.
- Drizzle a bit of olive oil on top of the slices, then repeat until all of the eggplant has been added.
- Cover the eggplant with 1/2 inch of oil, and remove any air pockets.
- Cap the jar and leave at room temperature for 2 to 3 weeks before eating.