MAKES 4 – 6
With their delicate flavor, tender skin and paucity of seeds, Japanese eggplants are a fine substitute for the more common and larger eggplant found in local grocery stores.
4–6 small Japanese eggplants
2 tsp. salt
1 tbsp. ground walnuts
1⁄2 tsp. cayenne
Olive oil to cover
1. Poach eggplants in gently boiling water for 5–10 minutes or until slightly soft. Slit each eggplant from blossom end almost to stem end twice, so that eggplant splays into four "fingers" attached to stem end.
2. Mix salt, walnuts, and cayenne in food processor into a smooth paste. Rub paste on exposed eggplant flesh, reassemble the eggplants, and place in a tall jar, stem ends upward, for 12 hours.
3. Discard brine at bottom of jar. Fill jar with oil, covering eggplants completely. A ball of foil on top of eggplants will keep them submerged.
4. Close jars, and pickle for 10–14 days. Refrigerated, they will keep for 2 weeks.