Summer is finished and in Il Viandante’s veggie patch there are the final tomatoes, eggplants, zucchini and other vegetables. If you are in the same situation and you do not know how to consume all of them – and like us you HATE to waste food, the solution for you is:
the buccacci sott’olio, aka the preservation of the vegetables in oil.
The buccacc’ and the preservation of vegetables in oil
Boccaccio is not only a famous Italian poet, but it is also a dialect word from the south of Italy which means jar. Il boccaccio or buccacc’ in particular refers to a glass jar used for the preservation of the vegetables in the olive oil.
The art of preserving the food in oil is an old technique used since the Roman empire as well as the preservation under salt. With the end of the summer and the last products from the garden this method will help not only prevent the wastage of the food, but also to have some summer vegetables available during the winter. Yeah! I know:
” I’ll go to the market there are always eggplants!”. It is not the same!
First of all, one of the main things in this process is the sterilization of the jar. Before putting the vegetables in them it is very important to sterilize the jar in hot boiling water.
Also the vegetables need to be processed in the correct way: by salting or blanching in boiling water and vinegar the vegetables.
1. Buccacc’ di melanzane sott’olio ( eggplant preserved in olive oil)
Le melanzane sott’olio once ready are good basically everywhere: topping for pizze or bruschette, in a panino just by themselves or to emphasize a grilled sausage.
Start to cut the eggplant in tiny strips and place them in a strainer adding a couple of table spoons of salt on them so they lose the water. Place them in the fridge for the whole night. The day after wash the eggplant strips under running water to remove the bitter flavor.
Let them dry on a tea-towel for 30-40 min. Meanwhile in a pot add 1 Lt of white vinegar and let it boil. When it starts to boil add the eggplant strips and cook them for 4-5 min.
Drain them, squeeze and let them dry on a tea towel for two hours.
Chop finely garlic, basil and mint. Pour some e.v.o. oil in a sterilized jar with some herbs and garlic. Add the eggplants, more oil and more herbs till the end. Cover everything with olive oil. Press the eggplant down with a fork so all the oil fills every space.
Close. Put in the pantry. And after 10-15 days it is going to be ready to eat.
2. Buccacc’ di zucchine sott’olio (zucchine preserved in olive oil)
We had so many zucchine. We grilled, we used for pasta, we marinated, we cooked in every way. We still had a lot. So let’s put them in a jar!
Very similar process to the eggplant. Slice the zucchini. Chop a celery stick finely.
In a pot boil half water and half vinegar. When it is boiling add the zucchini and the celery and cook for 4-5 min.
Drain and let them dry on a tea towel. Chop some mint, garlic, basil and some chili.
Pour some olive oil in a sterilized jar with garlic and herbs. Then start to put in the zucchini and the celery. More oil. More herbs and more oil to the top of the jar. Cover everything with olive oil and press the zucchini down with a fork.
Done! How easy was it?
3. Buccacc’ di pomodori secchi sott’olio (sun dried tomatoes preserved in olive oil.
The summer is finished, but we still have some really hot days perfect for sun drying some vegetables. Our favorite: sun dried tomatoes.
Chop your favorite kind of tomatoes in slices. Place them on a tray with baking paper with the skin facing down. Spread salt on them and if you like you can spread on top some paprika or chili powder and some oregano as well. Place in the sun and leave them out to get a tan.
Now call your friend over for a beer and enjoy the sun. Don’t forget the sunscreen!
The tomatoes have to lose almost all their water.
When they have lost all the water and are very dried put them in a sterilized jar with olive oil, chopped garlic, basil and rosemary. Perfect with pasta or on a focaccia, they can be eaten even simply on a piece of bread.
Now that you have all this amazing and delicious delicatessen when you feel hungry just open one of your magic jars and enjoy your vegetables on bread, pizza or with pasta.
As always, share it with friend! Food has to be shared! In Italy we said: ” Who eat’s alone, dies choking! “