Obsessed with pickles? So are we. In a regular feature, I’m exploring different ways of making this delicious fridge staple so you can enjoy seasonal produce all year round.
Please don’t think it mere hyperbole when I tell you that for the rest of my life the only way I want to eat eggplants is pickled — really, it’s a calm and measured response to how good they taste. The preservation involved here is threefold: First, the eggplant slices are salted, to draw out moisture. Then, they’re cooked briefly in a vinegar bath. Finally, they’re submerged in a small quantity of olive olive oil, which renders the eggplant as satiny-rich as if you’d spent the whole time deep-frying them. After a few days in the fridge they’re ready to eat — tangy, herbed, and incredibly delicious.
Together the salt, vinegar and oil saturate the the eggplant in flavor, without overpowering it. Tumble the eggplant slices over pasta for an instant sauce, tuck them into sandwiches, or serve as part of an antipasto platter. One bite, and you’ll want to eat it forever too.
Makes one 14-ounce jar, depending on the size of your eggplants.
- Two large, firm eggplants
- Kosher salt
- ½ cup white vinegar
- ½ cup apple cider vinegar
- 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
- 1 tablespoon fresh oregano leaves
- Olive oil
- Cut the eggplants into slices of roughly ¼-inch thickness, then cut each of these down the middle into semicircles.
- Place a layer of eggplant slices into a colander or sieve sat over a bowl, and sprinkle liberally with the salt. Repeat, layering and salting the remaining eggplant slices. Place a plate on top of the eggplants, and then place a small weight on top, e.g. a can of beans. Leave for three hours. (Here I admit that I completely forgot about them and didn’t return for about six hours, they were absolutely fine.)
- Remove the weight and press down on the plate to squeeze out as much moisture as possible from the eggplant slices. Bring the three vinegars to a simmer in a medium-sized saucepan, then add the eggplant slices, plus enough water to only just submerge them. Cook the eggplant for five minutes, stirring often, then remove from the heat and allow to cool.
- Carefully squeeze the eggplant slices to remove excess vinegar. Pack the eggplant, along with the thyme and oregano, into a clean jar, pushing it down with the back of a spoon to make sure it’s properly packed in. Pour enough olive oil into the jar cover the eggplant by about half an inch, fasten the lid, and refrigerate for two days before consuming.
Note: Feel free to play with different types of vinegar — I like this blend for its sharpness and flavor. It’s also what I had in the house!