There are a lot of people who can actually grow stuff in my office. Well, they don’t grow stuff right in the office, of course.
My point is that they are talented at gardening, and they are extremely generous with their bounty. There are usually a variety of vegetables, sitting in the break room, that are free for the taking. Lately, there has a large selection of cucumbers, tomatoes, and eggplants.
For some reason, no one seemed interested in the eggplants.
“SAY WHAT?” It’s one of my favorite vegetables! You know that joke when you offer someone food and they decline, so you go, “Oh well, more for me!”? In this case, I totally did that.
I even asked around, and most people said they either didn’t like it, or they didn’t know how to cook it.
I grew up eating eggplant. In Argentina, we serve up eggplant in so many different ways, that not knowing what to do with it sounds like a foreign language to me. Eggplant is a versatile vegetable that is packed with flavor and totally delicious.
My mother would get super excited when the “escabeche man” would come to our house; there was this guy who made the best pickled-eggplant and he would sell it door to door. “Escabeche” is pickled eggplant.
The recipe that I’m sharing with you today is the one that my mother uses. As with many recipes, you can find hundreds of different alternatives. There are 2 key ingredients -apart from the eggplants: Bay leaves and Oregano.
My mother never liked food that was too oily or too acidic. So, this recipe uses less vinegar and oil that most that you would find online.
I also added green onions and basil because those are my personal favorites! Give this recipe a try. It works more like a side dish, and will add a perfect intense flavor to any main dish.
- 2 large eggplants
- 6 cups of water
- 4 cups of vinegar (I used apple cider but you can use any kind you want)
- 1-cup oil (again, any kind, feel free to experiment)
- 1 large white onion
- Many bay leaves (at least 10-15 , dried is fine)
- Oregano (fresh is better)
- Basil leaves (fresh is better)
- Green onions
- green onions and sesame seeds for garnish
- Peel the eggplants. It’s ok if some skin is left, it won’t affect the flavor. Cut off the ends of the eggplant and then cut the eggplant into slices.
- Place the slices in single layers on a colander and sprinkle salt between layers. Let it “sweat” for 2-3 hours. They don’t need to be covered, but it’s a good idea to place the colander in the sink, or place a plate under it to catch the juices.
- After 2-3 hours, rinse the eggplant and set it aside.
- Cut the onion into slices and set them aside.
- In a large pot, bring the water, vinegar, oil, onion, oregano, bay leaves, basil and sliced green onions to a boil. Slice the green onions as big as you please, this is totally up to personal preference.
- Once it’s boiling, add the eggplant and reduce the heat.
- Cover, and let it simmer for about 20 minutes. (Until you notice that the eggplant is soft and mushy.)
- Remove the pot from the heat, and let it cool off completely.
Transfer the “escabeche” to sanitized jars, and refrigerate for at least 24 hours before eating.