Sunday, August 26, 2012

Melanzane Sott'Olio

Melanzane Sott' Olio
Recipe by Traditional

This is another traditional Italian canning recipe. Water bath canning with only olive oil is not USDA approved. You can add whatever flavoring ingredients you wish. I always add a few bay leaves and peppercorns to the boiling brine and this time I added garlic and dried chili flakes to the jars. 2.5 lb of eggplant will give you 4 or 5 half pints (a little extra head space is OK as long as the eggplant is covered by the oil.)

  • 2.5 lb. Eggplant (I had 2 lb. 12 oz.)
  • 1 pint White Wine Vinegar
  • Salt
  • Fresh Mint, Basil, Garlic, dried Peperoncino to taste
  • Olive Oil

Cooking Directions
  1. Peel the eggplant and cut it into 1/4" slices. Cut the slices into 1/4" matchsticks. It doesn't matter which way you slice them - the point is to make the 1/4" matchsticks.

  2. Layer the eggplant matchsticks in a colander sprinkling each layer generously with salt. Don't worry if your eggplant seems to have a lot of seeds. Many of them will come out when you rinse the salt off and more will fall away when you brine the eggplant in step 6.

  3. Set the colander in a roasting pan or large serving dish, place a plate on top of the eggplant, weight it well, and leave it alone for about 6 hours or overnight (pop it in the 'fridge if you're leaving it overnight). About half way through the draining time, check to make sure you still have weight on the eggplant. I had to switch to a smaller plate after about an hour. My eggplant gave off almost 2 cups of liquid.
  4. Rinse the eggplant well, spread it out on kitchen towels, and press to dry. 
  5. Carefully peel, trim and wash the garlic cloves.
  6. Bring the white wine vinegar and an equal amount of water to a boil and add the eggplant. (I like to toss in a few bay leaves and peppercorns.) It will probably be necessary boil the eggplant in two or three batches. Simmer each batch for about 4 minutes and remove to clean towels to dry. Add the garlic cloves to the last batch.
  7. Sterilize 1/2 pint or pint canning jars, fresh lids, and bands according to the manufacturer's directions.
  8. Pack the jars: spoon a 1 inch layer of eggplant to a jar, add a little mint, basil, or peperoncino and enough olive oil to cover. Continue until the jar is filled, leaving a 1 inch head space. Tuck a clove of garlic into the top layer. Repeat until all the eggplant is used.
  9. After all the jars are filled, run the handle of a spoon between the eggplant and the jar to ensure there are no air pockets. Top off with more olive oil if necessary but be sure to maintain the head space.
  10. Wipe the rims and seal the jars according to the manufacturer's directions.
  11. Process in a boiling water bath for 20 minutes.

  12. Let the jars cool in the water before removing them. Wipe them clean, label, and store, placing any that didn't seal in the refrigerator.
  13. Let the eggplant rest for at least a week before eating.

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