In the south of Italy, virtually everything which grows during the summer is preserved in oil for use during the winter. Tomatoes are sun-dried and then kept in jars of oil; peppers, mushrooms, aubergines and onions too end up like this so they can be enjoyed all year round.
Using the same method you can also preserve a mixture of vegetables: aubergines, carrots, cauliflower, onions, celery, fennel and gherkins, all cut into small pieces. Serve them as an antipasto with cured meats and pickles.
Slice the aubergines and lay them in a bowl. Cover with salted water, then place a plate on top and a weight on top of that and leave for 24 hours. Drain and squeeze dry carefully without breaking the slices too much. Arrange them in layers in a sterilised glass jar or several jars, with a sprinkling of chilli, vinegar and oil (to taste) in between each layer. Be sure to fill the jar completely and that the final layer is properly submerged in oil. Seal the jar or jars tightly and keep in the larder or a dark cupboard until required. The aubergines will be ready to use after about 1 month but will keep for up to a year.
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