Melanzane a Scabecciu is a typical sweet & sour eggplant antipasto from Sardinia, which I enjoyed at Agriturismo Oasi Blu in Calasetta. There it was made with lovely red eggplant from the agriturismo’s garden, but it is also very nice with regular eggplant/aubergine. At the agriturismo it was topped with caramelized onion, which I liked and have also added here. Similar dishes are also prepared in Liguria and Campania.
extra virgin olive oil
salt and freshly ground black pepper
60 ml (1/4 cup or 4 Tbsp) white wine vinegar
1 Tbsp (12.5 grams) sugar
1 Tbsp minced fresh flat leaf parsley
Cut the eggplant into slices of about 1 to 1.5 cm (1/2 inch) thick. Place them on kitchen paper in a single layer and sprinkle with salt on both sides. Allow the salt to draw out the juices for 30-60 minutes.
In the meantime, halve the onion and then slice it thinly. Sauté the onion with some salt in olive oil over medium heat, stirring regularly…
…until the olden is soft and golden brown. This will take at least 30 minutes. You don’t want the onion to become crispy, so regulate the heat carefully and stir frequently. When the onions are done to your liking, turn off the heat and allow to cool to room temperature.
Wipe the eggplant slices dry with paper towels. There is no need to rinse them (if you applied a reasonable amount of salt).
I like to roast eggplant in the oven rather than pan frying it, as that way it will absorb less oil. Preheat the oven to 225/440F (not fan forced).
Arrange the eggplant slices in a single layer on a baking sheet lined with oven paper. Brush the eggplant slices lightly with olive oil on both sides.
Roast the eggplant in the oven for 10-15 minutes at 225C/440F, then turn the slices…
…and roast a further 10 to 15 minutes on the other side. The eggplant should be cooked through and golden brown, not burnt.
Pour 60 ml white wine vinegar and 1 tablespoon sugar into a wide acid proof frying pan in which the eggplant fits in a single layer.
Bring to a boil, stirring, and simmer for about a minute to dissolve the sugar and soften the vinegar.
Turn off the heat and place the eggplant slices in the dressing. Allow the eggplant to soak up the dressing for at least an hour or so, turning them once in a while.
Serve the eggplant with the caramelized onions on top, sprinkled with minced parsley and drizzled with good quality extra virgin olive oil. Grind some black pepper on top. This dish is served at room temperature.