Eggplant Antipasto

My cousin, who is a fabulous cook, sent me this recipe. In her words: “When I lived in New York, I could have lived off this stuff. It is ridiculous! Serve it with crusty bread, Italian cheeses, and/ or roasted red peppers or tomatoes-- it is a fantastic antipasto….YUM. A little labor intensive, but TOTALLY worth it…”

3 medium eggplant, peeled and cut into 3- by 1/4-inch sticks
3 cups water
1 1/2 cups white-wine vinegar
3-4 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
1 tablespoon finely chopped oregano
About 1 cup olive oil, plus a bit more to cover

1) Toss eggplant with 1/4 cup salt and drain in a colander set over a bowl, covered, at room temperature 4 hours.(Eggplant will turn brown.) Discard liquid in bowl.

2) Gently squeeze handfuls of eggplant. Bring water and vinegar to a boil in a medium pot. Add eggplant and boil, stirring occasionally, until tender, 2 to 3 minutes. Drain in colander, then set colander over a bowl and cover eggplant with a plate and a weight (such as a large heavy can). Continue to drain, covered and chilled, 8 to 12 hours. Discard liquid in bowl. Gently squeeze handfuls of eggplant to remove excess liquid, then pat dry.

3) Stir together eggplant, garlic, oregano, 1/2 teaspoon pepper, and 1 cup oil in a bowl.

4) Transfer to a 1-quart jar or other container with a tight-fitting lid and add just enough olive oil to cover eggplant. Marinate eggplant, covered and chilled, at least 4 hours.

5) Bring to room temperature before serving. Gets better over time, and keeps for a month or more (if you can make it last that long!)


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