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  • Isabella Akshay

Sicilian Raw Pickled Aubergines

These raw pickled aubergine are one of my favourite things in the world…so so addictive!


This is my mum's version and the recipe is one that has been passed on from generation to generation in my family, and one that I'm very jealous of, but wanted to share with you today.


Each family in Sicily will have their own secret recipe, most of which involve cooking or blanching the aubergines in boiling water. In my family version, we do not cook them, and instead marinate them for a night in equal parts water and vinegar until they become soft and ‘meaty’; then transfer them raw to a jar with olive oil.


Ingredients (for one 500ml jar)

  • 2 large aubergines

  • 1 carrot

  • 2 stalks celery

  • 4-5 cloves garlic

  • 2 tbsp capers

  • A few fresh mint leaves

  • 500ml white vinegar

  • 500ml water

  • Salt, as needed

  • Extra virgin olive oil, as needed


Method


Peel aubergines and trim top and bottom. Cut lengthwise into 5mm thick slices and place in a colander, sprinkling salt over each slice. Place the colander over a bowl, and place a plate and a weight over the aubergines to eliminate all the bitter water. Do so for at least 5-6 hours or overnight. Pat dry, remove excess salt and set aside.


Peel carrot and trim top and bottom. Slice into discs of 2-3mm thickness. Also slice celery into 1cm thick bits. Lastly, cut each slice of aubergine lengthwise into 2-3 pieces, each should be roughly a finger wide.


Place aubergines, carrot and celery in a large pot and cover with vinegar and water. Rest overnight. The next day, drain and spread out on a kitchen towel. Cover with another towel to dry for 3-4 hours - they should be completely dry or they will get spoiled easily.


I used a sterilised clip top jar of 500ml to store these. To sterilise it, pre-heat the oven to 180C and place the jar (removing the plastic seal first!) in the middle rack for about 5 minutes. Allow them to cool.


Transfer the veggies to the jar, alternating each layer with a few capers, mint leaves and a clove of garlic. When you are done, top with extra virgin olive oil until they are completely submerged in it.


Word of the Day


Sottaceti

(Pickles, pronounced sot·ta·cé·ti)


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