Melanzane Sott’olio Eggplant Antipasto from Connie’s Kitchen
Many of Connie Arteaga’s long list of handmade preserves – think passata or eggplant antipasto – have their roots in her native Sicily.
When Connie Arteaga and her husband, Rafael, retired, they downsized to a smaller house and upsized the land around it, with room for a large vegetable garden. “I always made preserves for the family,” said Connie, “but when I was looking for something to do in my retirement, our kids said I should sell my preserves, so that’s how I got started.” That “something to do” now includes the vegetable garden, chickens for free-range eggs, beehives, a sugar bush, baking and a long list of preserves made, for the most part, with her own crops.
Many of the recipes have their roots in Sicily, where Connie grew up in a small town and worked in her parents’ general store before immigrating to Canada at age 16. She makes passata, eggplant antipasto, sundried tomatoes in olive oil, and bean soup with Romano beans from her garden, for example, along with some new additions such as red pepper jelly with tequila, and apricot jam with ghost peppers, among many more offerings.
Preserves from Connie’s Kitchen are available at 487207 30 Sideroad, Mono, but call first (519-925-4380). Her preserves are also available at the Alliston RURBAN Market (Sat, 8–2) until the end of October. For a list of products, go to shop.connieskitchen.ca.
Melanzane Sott’olio Eggplant Antipasto
Makes 2 500-ML jars
- 3 cups water
- 6 cups white wine vinegar or apple cider vinegar
- ½ cup salt
- 6 medium eggplants (Connie prefers Sicilian eggplant)
- 3–4 cloves organic garlic, thinly sliced
- 1 bunch Italian parsley, leaves finely minced
- 2 tbsp oregano
- 1–2 cups olive oil
- Mix the water, vinegar and salt in a stainless steel bowl.
- Peel and thinly slice the eggplant lengthwise and then slice each piece into thin strips.
- Add the eggplant to the vinegar mixture and weigh it down with a plate to make sure it is completely submerged.
- Let stand for 6 to 8 hours.
- Drain the mixture well, squeezing out as much liquid as possible, and pat dry with a paper towel.
- In a large bowl, mix the garlic, parsley and oregano with the olive oil and add the eggplant. Mix well.
- Pour the mixture into 2 500-ml jars, leaving 1 inch of headspace.
- Add more olive oil if needed.
- Cover and refrigerate or store in a cold room.
- No need for a water bath.