Farm Fresh

… Fresh on to the farm. Here is an occassional chronicle of a new family in a small town.

Eggplant

Looks like I’ll be making this soon. Natalie is bringing me some eggplant…  I imagine adding some red pepper flakes to heat things up.

Eggplant Preserved in Oil from http://eatingisforfood.blogspot.com

I have made this recipe several times and L-O-V-E it. It’s a *bit* of trouble, but mostly passive waiting time, and is a great way to use up quite a bit of eggplant in one fell swoop (read: eggplants for $1 each at the farmer’s market and I couldn’t resist)…and you also get a bonus out of this recipe: flavored dipping oil (due to the large quantity of olive oil required). The finished product makes an excellent pizza topping, pasta or salad add-in, or can simply be placed on top of toasted bruschetta (with a little goat cheese, too). You can also mash or puree the eggplant and some of the oil and additional salt and pepper together to make a quick dip. I suggest dried herbs and garlic as fresh ones can often lead to premature spoilage; feel free to adjust the herbs/spices to suit your taste. It is also very important to make sure as much excess water is expressed from the eggplant (NOTE: if you decide to roast or broil the eggplant, don’t let the “dry” appearance fool you…let cool and squeeze with a clean towel.) I have had jars of this last over a year, but I suggest 3-6 months in a cool, dark place for optimum quality.
  • 4 lbs eggplant
  • 6 Tbs cider, wine or balsamic vinegar*
  • 2-4 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1 tsp granulated garlic
  • 2 tsp dried rosemary
  • 2 tsp dried thyme
  • Salt
  • Olive Oil (approx 4 cups)
Trim eggplant of stem and blossom end and rinse well; you can peel the skin off at this point, but the end product will be much softer and probably even disintegrate quite a bit–the skin actually becomes rather soft so I always leave it on. Slice or cube (I prefer slices as they can be left whole or chopped up later on). Layer in a large bowl or pan, and sprinkle layers liberally with salt. Let sit at least 2 hours or overnight. Blanch eggplant for 2-3 minutes in boiling water (alternatively, roast or broil at 450 deg. F for 6-8 minutes on each side, careful not to burn). Drain in colander and press or squeeze out as much excess moisture as possible. One good way to do this is set a plate on top of the eggplant and weight it down with something heavy, a stack of bowls, a jug of juice, but also press down on it; alternatively, squeeze COOLED eggplant pieces in a clean tea towel (not your nicest one, though, as it will stain).

*This is merely a flavor preference, although the balsamic will definitely darken the final product more than the other options.

In a large bowl, combine vinegar and spices. Toss drained eggplant pieces in vinegar mixture to coat. Spoon into sterilized jars (do not pack!), leaving 1/2-inch headspace (note: these do NOT have to be sealing canning jars). Pour olive oil over eggplant to cover by 1/4-inch. Carefully slide a butter knife along the edges of the jars, pressing inward gently, to release any air bubbles.
After eggplant has cooled, place lids on jars and leave jars in the sun for 10-12 days, shaking gently each day to distribute the flavorings.

Eat now or let sit.  Use a good vegetable oil if you want to keep it for a long time- up to a year.

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Filed under: Food

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