About this recipe:A traditional Italian starter, which would be a great addition to any antipasto dish. Aubergines are marinated in olive oil and seasonings. The recipe takes quite a while, but the results are really worth it. You can even give the jarred product as food gifts.
4 medium aubergines
125g coarse salt
2 tablespoons white vinegar
500ml extra-virgin olive oil
1 bulb garlic, cloves peeled and chopped
1 teaspoon crushed chillies
2 tablespoons chopped fresh oregano
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
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On the evening before you intend to make the dish, prepare the aubergines. Cut the ends off the aubergines and peel. Cut into long strips. Place the strips into a large bowl and stir in 125g of coarse salt.
Place a sturdy dinner plate upside down in a clean sink, making sure that the drain is not blocked. Place a generous handful of the aubergine strips onto the centre of the plate and cover with another upside down dinner plate to create an aubergine sandwich. Layer more aubergine and plates until all of the aubergine is sandwiched. Cap it off with one additional plate and press down firmly. Set a sturdy stock pot on top and fill with enough water to create some pressure on the aubergine layers. Not so much pressure that you break your dishes though. Let this pressing process stand overnight.
The next day, fill a large bowl with ice water. Begin dismantling your stack of plates. One layer (handful) at a time, briefly swish the aubergine around in the ice water, then squeeze dry and place into a clean bowl. If your hand starts to hurt, you are swishing too long. Once all of the aubergine is rinsed and squeezed and in the bowl, mix in the vinegar. Let rest for about 15 minutes.
Heat a splash of the olive oil in a frying pan over medium heat. Once the oil is hot, add the garlic, crushed chillies, oregano and sea salt. Cook and stir just until fragrant. You do not want to cook the garlic. Set aside to cool.
Your aubergines should be well rested now. Give them one last sqeeze. Make it a good one or your aubergines are going to taste like pickles.
Place the squeezed aubergines into a large bowl and stir in the contents of the frying pan and remaining olive oil until well blended. Transfer to sterile 500ml jars. Make sure to fill the jars to the top and top off with any olive oil that may be left in the bowl. Wipe the rims with a clean dry cloth and seal tightly with new lids. Refrigerate for at least a month before opening.