The Italian families that settled in alpine Victoria brought with them some marvellous customs.
800-1kg (about 3 medium) eggplant
¼ cup kitchen salt
100ml red wine vinegar
about 200ml extra virgin olive oil
1 hot chilli, sliced finely or chilli flakes
2 garlic cloves, peeled and halved
mint leaves or thyme sprigs
fennel seeds (optional)
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
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