Pickled Stuffed Aubergine
Berendjena reynada en salamura
About the Recipe
Food-preservation techniques appear in most culinary cultures - pickling vegetables, made in large batches for the winter, is one of them. The Rhodeslis have for centuries encompassed this ancient art in their kitchens.
My sister Vera and I grew up with jars of colorful pickles on our kitchen counter.
I like to make an appetizing pickle with baby aubergines (eggplants) from my garden. This was always a favorite pickle at our table. My mother, of Turkish Sephardic descent, made berendjena reynada en salamura, stuffing aubergines with a tasty mixture of chopped celery, garlic and chili, wrapped with tender celery stalks and then pickled.
These pickles make a perfect side to any Mediterranean style meal. Adjust the heat to suit your palate with the chili and enjoy!
1kg (2¼lb) baby aubergines (eggplants) – 8-9cm (3-4in) long
4 tender celery stalks, very finely chopped
6 garlic cloves, finely grated
2 heaped tsp salt
1 tsp bird’s eye chili, finely sliced
a few tender inner celery stalks for wrapping
2 cups water
1 cup red wine vinegar
1 tbsp kosher or coarse salt
You will need:
a 1lt (2pt) sterilized pickling jar
Wash and trim the aubergine stem.
Place the aubergines in a pan and cover with water. Bring to a boil. Blanch aubergines in boiling water for 15 minutes or until just tender. (The aubergine should be soft enough to hold its shape to stuff). Drain, squeezing out all the moisture. Peel the stem end off. With a sharp knife cut a slit lengthways down the center of each aubergine but not right through, leaving the ends intact to form a pocket for stuffing. When cool, squeeze the aubergines gently to get rid of excess water.
In the meanwhile make the stuffing: Combine the chopped celery, garlic, salt, and chili in a small bowl. Gently open the pocket of the aubergine with your fingers and fill 1 tsp of the stuffing into the pocket of each aubergine. Press the two halves back together. Press in any protruding stuffing.
Cut the celery stalks lengthways into thin ribbons. Blanch briefly in boiling water and drain. Wrap the celery around each aubergine parcel, securing it tightly with a knot.
Make the brine: Combine the water, vinegar and salt in a measuring jar.
Pack the stuffed aubergines tightly into the jars. Pour the brine over the aubergines. Seal the jars and refrigerate for about 5 days for the flavors to develop.
To serve, cut into thick slices with a serrated knife.
Store in the refrigerator.