I probably have more eggplant recipes than all other vegetables combined and yet I still find myself trying new ones every summer. I have seen versions of this recipe in so many places that I really thought I should try it. I made this recipe three weeks ago but did not want to share it until we tasted and liked it.
While the steps seem long and complicated, the recipe is really quite simple and the active preparation time is minimal compared to the amount of time it takes from slicing the eggplant to actually eating it.
The eggplants are cooked twice in this recipe, first by degorging in salt then boiling for just a few minutes in a vinegar and water mixture. Eggplants are made of about 95 percent water, so, by degorging in salt, most of the liquid is removed, then some of that liquid is replaced with the vinegar when it’s boiled, it is then left to dry. Once the slices are almost dry, they are packed in a jar with garlic, fresh herbs and oil.
We were really pleased with the result and we will definitely be making it next summer…
- 3-4 eggplants
- Coarse salt
- ½ cup apple cider vinegar
- Fresh thyme or other fresh herbs
Wash and trim the eggplants, cut into ¼-1/8 inch slices. Place in a large bowl and sprinkle heavily with salt as you layer the eggplant slices in the bowl. Once all the eggplants are in the bowl, put a plate on top and weigh it down with another bowl. Let the eggplants stand at room temperature for at least 12 hours. At this point, the bowl will be filled with the dark liquid released by the eggplants.
Drain and rinse the eggplant slices under cold running water, put in a colander. In a medium saucepan, heat the vinegar with a cup of water, bring it to a boil and start cooking the eggplant slices for 4-5 minutes in the vinegar mixture, don’t fill the saucepan with eggplant, boil about 10-12 slices at a time.
Put the boiled eggplant slices in a colander and squeeze between your hands to remove as much liquid as possible. Line trays with tea towels or paper towels, arrange the eggplant slices and let them dry for 12-15 hours indoors or sun dry them for 3-4 hours.
To store the eggplants, wash glass jars and lids with soapy hot water (you can also boil them), put the eggplant slices tightly in the jars, place garlic cloves and herbs between the layers, pour olive oil to fill the jar completely, cover with a lid and store in a cool, dark place or refrigerate for at least 2 weeks before using.