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How To Make Grilled Eggplant Or Aubergine Antipasto

  • Eggplant is a wonderful vegetable grown in the height of summer as it thrives off high temperatures and heavy rainfall.

    One of the most famous ways to eat eggplant is when it's made into an antipasto (which is usually a selection of cured meats and preserved vegetables served as an appetiser before the main meal).

    Essentially, preserved eggplant is simply grilled eggplant preserved in oil which had been infused with garlic and pepper - that's really it!

    See the next tab for ingredients etc...
  • Ingredients

    Qty of Eggplants
    Salt
    Cracked Pepper
    Crushed garlic (just a few cloves)
    Oil (either olive oil or canola)

    Method
    Step 1 - Slicing

    Peel the eggplant (you can leave the skin on if you wish but I prefer the skin off) and slice about 1/4 inch thick into round or long pieces. It's important not to slice the eggplant too thin or it will break up when grilled.

    Step 2 - Salting

    Place the sliced eggplant onto a tray (or I use the end of my stainless sink bench). Using a course or granulated salt, sprinkle generously over the slices on one side only. Let the eggplant sit and salt for at least 1 hour. The salting process draws out excess water from the vegetable, and helps to reduce the bitterness of the eggplant whilst also seasoning it.

    Step 3 - Washing

    Fill a bowl or sink up with clean water and wash the salt off the eggplant then pat dry with a tea towel or paper toweling.

    Step 4 - Grilling

    Dry grill the eggplant slices on a grill plate stove top or char grill over a BBQ. Cook the eggplant through but there's no need to over grill the hell out of it otherwise it will fall apart too easily. Likewise, don't add oil when grilling or pan fry it as it will just go soggy (dry grill only).

    Step 5 - Adding to oil

    There are several ways this can be done but first add the pepper and crushed garlic to the oil - mix well.

    You can then place the grilled eggplant straight from the grill into sterilised preserving jars then pour the infused oil over the eggplant pieces ensuring to cover them fully then put the lids on and store in the pantry or fridge (once opened keep in the fridge).

    You can also place all the eggplant slices straight from the grill and into a bowl or container with the infused oil, leave it marinate in the fridge overnight to build the flavour, and then eat it over a few weeks.

    Special notes about the oils

    The main differences between the two oils (olive and canola) are taste and solidity when refrigerated. Olive oil tastes better with the eggplant; however, olive oil will also solidify when it gets cold so if the preserved eggplant is stored in the fridge it must be removed and brought to room temperature before serving (so the oil melts).

    On the other hand, if canola or sunflower oil is used it will still taste good but possibly not as good as the olive oil. However, canola oil doesn't solidify when refrigerated and therefore it's a little easier to serve and eat at any time straight from the fridge.

    You can preserve the eggplant in canola/sunflower oil and then drizzle a little olive oil over the eggplant before serving - that works fine.

    Other herbs & spices
    Feel free to experiment with other herbs and spices such as adding basil and oregano, or a hint of chilli but personally I prefer it with just garlic and pepper.

    See the next tab for serving suggestions...
  • Serving suggestions
    Antipasto is the obvious way to serve grilled preserved eggplant but here's some more serving suggestions:
    • mix some preserved eggplant into a salad;
    • have it on toast or in a sandwich;
    • goes great on pizzas;
    • excellent with pasta; and
    • puree and serve as a dip with cracker biscuits.
    And, I'm sure you can think of many others but that's it from me if you have any questions or would like to make your own suggestions then use the comments below or discussion tab. ;)