Italian-Style Pickled Eggplant Recipe (Melanzane sott'aceto)

Pickled eggplant in glass jars
Pickled eggplant in glass jars. DEA/N. BANAS/Getty Images
  • 10 mins
  • Prep: 5 mins,
  • Cook: 5 mins
  • Yield: 1-2 jars (Serves 4-8)
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In Italian, pickled vegetables are referred to as sottaceti, which comes from "sotto aceto," meaning "under vinegar." Some vegetables are preserved in olive oil instead, in which case they are called "sottoli."

This quick and easy recipe for eggplants pickled in vinegar was passed down from Josephine Caravetta to her granddaughter Anne.

It is typically served as an antipasto, before a meal, and often on a mixed antipasto platter together with other items, such as sun-dried tomatoes marinated in oil, for example, and some slices of hearty, crusty bread.

[Edited by Danette St. Onge]

What You'll Need

  • 6 eggplants
  • Coarse Kosher salt
  • White or cider vinegar
  • 3-4 cloves garlic, peeled and thinly sliced
  • Leaves from 1 bunch of fresh parsley, washed, dried, and finely minced
  • Fresh or dried mint leaves, finely minced (optional, but nice)
  • 1-2 teaspoons dried oregano (optional)
  • 1/2-1 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes (for a spicier pickle, use instead a few small fresh red chile peppers, sliced lengthwise)
  • 1/4 green bell pepper, minced (optional)
  • 1-2 cups extra-virgin olive oil

How to Make It

  1. Slice the eggplants thinly, and then cut the slices into thin strips.
  2. Layer the strips in a colander and mix with some Kosher Salt. Place the colander in the sink, put a dish on top of it, and put something heavy on top of the dish to weigh it down. This helps remove excess water from the eggplant.
  3. After 1 hour, squeeze the eggplant to drain out any remaining excess water.
  4. Transfer the eggplant to a large pot. Cover with a ratio of 2 cups of water to 1 cup of vinegar. Bring to a boil. As soon as it boils, remove from heat and allow the eggplant to cool in the water.
  1. Place the sliced garlic, herbs, red pepper flakes (or fresh red chile pepper, if suing), and bell pepper, if using, in a large bowl. Also add the oregano, if using. Squeeze as much water out of the eggplant as you can, and add it to the bowl. Pour in 1-2 cups of extra-virgin olive oil (at least a cup) and 1/4 cup of vinegar. Stir well.
  2. Transfer everything to 1-2 glass jars (I use Mason jars), pressing down to remove any air. Leave about 1 inch (3 centimeters) of space at the top, and pour in some olive oil so that all the eggplant is submerged.

The pickled eggplants can be stored for up to 1 month in the refrigerator. Do not store them at room temperature.