Melanzane sott'olio is a classic Italian side and just one of many ways to prepare eggplant during the summer months. Pickled eggplant is perfect for many uses in different dishes. It can be simply layered on bread, in a sandwich, tossed in a cold pasta dish, or served on a charcuterie board. So delicious! Today we will serve it layered on a crostino toasted in the gas pizza oven.
Weight to place on top of the eggplant (a pot of water will work)
3.5 kg eggplant
1.5 L white wine vinegar
220 grams non-iodized salt
4-5 garlic cloves
1 L olive oil (or enough to top off each jar)
1 bunch parsley chopped
Hot pepper flakes or fresh hot peppers
Peal each eggplant and julienne to about 1/4 inch strips.
In a bowl, soak the julienned eggplant strips in the vinegar mixed with the salt for about 2 hours.
Place the soaked eggplant in a clean tea towel and squeeze the liquid out as much as possible.
Transfer the wrapped eggplant into a colander and once again, drizzle a bit more vinegar over the top.
As the wrapped eggplant sits inside the colander, place a weight on top of the eggplant package, such as a large pot filled with water, as shown in the video. Doing this will allow the liquid to slowly drip out.
Allow to drain with the weight for 24 hours.
After 24 hours, transfer the eggplant strips into a bowl. With the help of a fork, loosen up the eggplant mass. You will be shocked as to how much they have reduced.
Slice the garlic cloves very thinly, as well as the fresh hot peppers. Hot pepper flakes can also be used.
Chop the fresh, clean parsley.
Add the garlic, hot pepper and parsley to the eggplant, as well as a generous amount of olive oil and mix everything together.
In the meantime, sterilize the glass jars and lids by placing them into boiling water for 15 minutes. Remove the jars and lids from the water and allow them to drip dry upside-down on a clean cloth.
Once the jars are dry, they are ready to be filled with the eggplant mixture. Fill each jar with the eggplant strips, alternating with olive oil and pressing down gently with the help of a fork.
In order to remove any air bubbles from the jars, slide a fork all the way down along the inside of each jar, as shown in the video. You will notice air bubbles coming up to the surface. Press down even in the center of the jar.
Once you don't see small air bubbles coming to the surface you can top each jar with the olive oil until the eggplant is completely covered. You may need to check it again after 1-2 hours and top each jar once again with oil if necessary.
Place the lids over the jars and store in a cool, dark place for 6 weeks to allow them to fully pickle. They can be eaten immediately, but it is much better once it has been allowed to sit. If at the time of consumption you notice bubbles in the jar or darkening of the eggplant on the surface make sure to discard.
Once the jar has been opened, store in the refrigerator.
To serve, slice a baguette and place on a baking sheet inside the preheated oven to toast on each side. Once the bread is toasted, top it off with the pickled eggplant and with a drizzle of its oil. Enjoy!