We love these tender-firm cubes of eggplant pickled Italian-style, with salt, white wine vinegar, and extra-virgin olive oil, infused with red pepper flakes, garlic, and oregano.
The key to success with this tangy, bright-tasting antipasto is to let it age gracefully: The longer the eggplant sits in the marinade, the more the flavors meld and mellow. While three days is the shortest recommended time, we’ve enjoyed this crostini topper for up to 10 days after making it.
Keep the pickled eggplant refrigerated in an airtight container. The olive oil will solidify, so just before serving, remove the pickle from the fridge at least 30 minutes before you plan to serve it, or until the oil liquefies.
- Yields: 1 quart
- Difficulty: Easy
- Total: 1 hr 20 mins, plus marinating time
- Active: 20 mins
- 5 cups peeled, medium-dice eggplant (about 1 pound)
- 1 tablespoon kosher salt
- 1 cup white wine vinegar
- 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1 1/4 cups extra-virgin olive oil
- 3/4 cup small-dice red bell pepper (about 1 medium pepper)
- 6 medium garlic cloves, minced
- 1 tablespoon dried oregano
- Combine the eggplant and salt in a large bowl. Nest another bowl on top of the eggplant and weigh it down with a few canned goods (beans or tomatoes work well); set aside for 1 hour.
- Transfer eggplant to a fine mesh strainer and rinse off the salt under cold running water while tossing the eggplant with your hands. Press out any excess water, spread the eggplant in a single layer on a baking sheet, and pat dry with paper towels.
- Combine vinegar and red pepper flakes in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Add eggplant and simmer for 2 minutes. Remove from heat and let eggplant stand in vinegar for 10 minutes.
- Add remaining ingredients and stir to combine. Transfer to a 1-quart container with a tightfitting lid. Let cool to room temperature, cover, and refrigerate at least 3 days before serving.