I’m a big fan of aubergines in all sorts of forms: babaganoush, curries, moussaka, stuffed, grilled. Their distinctive flavour, the way you can get a real smokiness into them when you grill them, the way they pop in your mouth when you have them in a curry and it’s like a juicy bomb of flavour going off. Pickling them, though – this was a game-changer.
I first tried these pickled aubergines in an Argentinian restaurant and was blown away. I had to try and work out a recipe that recreated the vibrant, garlicky, peppery flavour with its slightly spicy kick.
I love how versatile this pickle is – it’s so delicious and feels really summery (and vegan) but also goes really well with a good old steak. It’s a great addition to a bbq spread or a nice appetiser to get the tastebuds standing to attention.
3 garlic cloves
1/2 tsp pink peppercorns
1/2 tsp black peppercorns
1/2 tsp crushed chillies
1/2 tsp oregano
1 cup white wine vinegar
1/2 cup water
1/3 cup olive oil
1. Slice the aubergine into short strips and layer in a lasagne dish or baking tray with plenty of coarse salt to draw out some moisture and help them to soften. Normally you can get away without doing this when cooking aubergines, but as we’re only pickling them by pouring over a hot pickling liquid, it’s better to give them a helping hand. Cover and leave for at least an hour.
2. Rinse the aubergines (so they’re not uber salty – bluergh!) and place in a saucepan with the water and vinegar. Heat gently until cooked through and tender. Drain the aubergines but keep the pickling liquid to one side.
3. Layer the aubergines in a preserving jar with the spices and garlic pieces. Pour over the olive oil and top up with leftover pickling liquid.
4. Leave the jar overnight at least before eating so that you get the best flavour from the infusion of spices. These aubergines are delicious served with warm, toasted crusty bread.
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