Pickled eggplant

Pickled eggplant
Pickled eggplant Photo: Marina Oliphant
Dietary
Vegetarian

The Italian families that settled in alpine Victoria brought with them some marvellous customs.

Ingredients

800-1kg (about 3 medium) eggplant

¼ cup kitchen salt

100ml red wine vinegar

about 200ml extra virgin olive oil

For layering

1 hot chilli, sliced finely or chilli flakes

2 garlic cloves, peeled and halved

mint leaves or thyme sprigs

fennel seeds (optional)

Method

Peel eggplant and cut into 5mm slices. Layer slices in a tray, scattering

each layer with salt.

Place another tray on top and weight with heavy jars or a full olive oil tin.

Leave overnight or at least 8 hours.

Rinse slices quickly in cold water and pat very dry with a clean cloth.

Heat grill plate to very high. Brush eggplant slices with some of the extra

virgin olive oil and grill, turning once. Leave to cool a little.

Transfer eggplant to a stainless or ceramic bowl and pour over the red wine

vinegar. Lift slices gently to mix through, and leave for 1 hour.

Lay out eggplant slices on a cloth-covered tray and pat dry. Discard the

vinegar.

Sterilise the required number of jars. Using tongs or a very clean fork, drop

in several eggplant slices. Layer with sliced hot chilli or chilli flakes,

garlic, fennel seeds, if using, and mint leaves or thyme sprigs.

Press down well and then pour in olive oil. Using the handle of the fork,

ease the slices away from the sides of the jar to release any trapped air.

Press down again and then fill to the top with the oil. Seal the jar and leave

for at least a week before eating.

If air has been correctly excluded and the jars are perfectly clean this

pickle will last for months. Keep in a cool dark cupboard to prevent

deterioration of the olive oil.

Makes 1 500g jar