So, today while I was looking in my fridge, I noticed I had half an eggplant that was on its way to going bad. Because I HATE wasting food, I always try to find ways to use up whatever I have that is reaching its expiration. Even with leftovers, I use my creativity to find ways to make the food even better the second time around! 😀 Wasting food should never be an option in my eyes, ESPECIALLY in a time like this when outings are limited.
This may seem dreadful to some of you….but for me, it’s quite fun. It sparks my imagination and gets those creativity juices flowing. Plus, if you have the TIME - why not?
Even though it’s half an eggplant, there is so much you can do with it! I decided to make melanzane grigliate sott’olio - or preserved grilled marinated eggplant. Now, you’re probably thinking I’m crazy for going through all that trouble for half of an eggplant. But, let me tell you, I got a small jar out of it! Not bad, huh?!
Preserving and canning are the perfect way to save those expiring produce no matter the quantity!
To start off, I sliced the remaining eggplant in about ¼-½ inch thick rounds. Then, I placed the slices in a colander that’s placed inside a bowl. I sprinkle the slices with some salt (coarse salt is better, but I only had fine at the moment). Then, I allowed the slices to rest for about an hour— this helps release any bitter juices of the eggplant.
Once the eggplant has rested, I gently squeezed each slice, allowing for the extraction of any remaining juices. Then, I dried the slices on a plate lined with paper towels. Dried eggplant allows for better grilling.
Once nice and dried, I grilled the slices for about 10 minutes. I placed the grilled eggplant on a plate and proceeded to drizzle them with a small amount of white vinegar (better if it’s white, but, again, use what you have! No one will yell at you!)🙃 Then, I waited until they cooled down a bit.
While I waited for the slices to cool, I cleaned and thinly sliced one garlic clove and chopped some basil and chives, which were also reaching its expiration. In a recipe like this, when it comes to the herbs and spices being used, you can be quite creative. Have fun with it! As in my case, I just used whatever I had available.
As for the oil, I like to use a 1:1 ratio of olive oil and corn (or vegetable oil). The reason I like to mix the two is because I prefer a milder flavor of oil in a recipe like this one. I really want to taste the flavor of the melanzane and not just oil. Olive oil, although delicious in flavor, sometimes has the tendency of cover up the flavors. Obviously, in certain circumstances, depending on what you use the eggplant for, only oil olive may be used.
Not knowing what I’ll be using it for, I decided to go with the milder option and do half and half.
In a separate bowl, I mixed the two oils, garlic, herbs, and some chili paste (fresh chili peppers are delicious - yet, of course, didn’t have any). I, then, seasoned it slightly with some coriander salt I had lying around. You can do this directly in the jar you will be using to preserve the eggplant; I just prefer doing it this way.
Once the eggplant has cooled, I placed the slices in a jar and covered them completely with the oil marinade. I sealed the jar, and voilà!
Because I’ll be using the eggplant within the next few days, I was not concerned with using a sterilized jar. If you want to preserve these for future use, you must follow the proper preserving and canning method by sterilizing your jars -- something you can easily Google or find on Pinterest.
They look yummy, and I can’t wait to dig into them. It is best to wait a few hours before eating them. The longer you wait, the better they taste 🤪
Just a few - of the many ways - to use melanzane grigliate sott’olio:
As part of a charcuterie and cheese board
In a salad
Crositni - on top of nice crispy bread rounds
On top of pizza
On a sandwich You can use the oil to make salad dressings, or even when cooking
Cut up into an omelet or frittata
DON’T WASTE FOOD, AND HAVE FUN IN THE KITCHEN!
Ps. I wanted to also share this video of the beautiful Firenze as of today (on March 18th, 2020)