Ancient Calabrese Secret....Melanzane Sott'Olio


Brava! My first jar of Melanzane Sott’Olio (Pickled Eggplant). It is not an easy task when unwritten family recipes end up in a game of charades+pictionary and a series of made up words. Here’s an example of a made up word: frip e frappi – it gets scary when you know exactly what they are referring to. I started writing down all of these ancient Calabrese secrets before they become extinct like the dialect!

But seriously, there are a few different recipes to pickled eggplant. Some do not boil the eggplant whereas others will marinate with white vinegar/water. Others will cut the eggplant in strips or rounds – my family refers the strips to the same size of fringi friti (french fries).


4 large eggplants
2 tablespoons salt
1 cup white vinegar
2 garlic cloves, chopped
a few pinches of red chili flakes
2 tbsp. fresh mint chopped (optional)
2 cups Extra Virgin Olive Oil or enough to heavily coat


Peel eggplant, cut in half and slice into finger length pieces approximately 1/4″ thick (fringi friti). Place in a large bowl, add salt and stir thoroughly.

Boil a large pot of salted water and add vinegar. Add the eggplant when the pot is boiling for approximately in ten seconds “frip e frappi” turn them over for another ten seconds.

Drain the eggplant in collander. Shock them by adding cold water to stop cooking. Let stand for about two hours.

Squeeze and wring out all excess water from the eggplant using hands. Add the eggplant in the bowl and place a plate with a weight (I wrapped a brick in a towel) and placed on the plate. It helps to get any excess water removed. Check it periodically within a 24 hour period. Remove excess water.

Add the strained-drained eggplant to another bowl. Add olive oil, chopped garlic, oregano, red chili flakes and chopped mint (optional). Taste and add salt, if necessary (it should be a little salty). Place in jars and cover with additional olive oil. Close jars tightly. Store for 2 weeks before serving.

This is great for antipasti, sandwiches or with crusty bread. Anything goes …. whatever you like. Growing up, we used to eat melazane sott’olio served with cured salciccia, cheese and tomato salad. Don’t forget: A nice glass of red wine !

a presto,


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