As a kid growing up in Wisconsin, my childhood summers meant weekends “up north” to a family cabin in lake country. There I spent countless hours of my young, only-child life wrapped in a life jacket on a pontoon boat in the middle of a lake, staring at a hazy shoreline and pretending that the blurry expanse across the way was Europe and that I was a chic, important woman in the middle of the ocean headed east. As an adult living in France, my summers now mean at least some time in the south. (Absolutely wild to me, still.) This recipe was written there, a bit inland from the seaside, in Provence—land of rosé, olive oil, and insane summer produce that you can’t not buy too much of, meaning you need to find a way to use up the excess. Confit is one of these ways. Just as special as the silky, oil-preserved slices of eggplant is the infused olive oil they’re kept in. Use it to fry eggs or pour it on a bunch of other summer produce. You’re living the dream, kid.
Reprinted with permission from À Table by Rebekah Peppler (Chronicle Books, 2021). —Rebekah Peppler
- Prep time 40 minutes
- Cook time 1 hour
- Serves 4 to 6
(455 grams) eggplant
Fine sea salt
garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 1/2 cups
(360 milliliters) extra-virgin olive oil
freshly ground black pepper
- Heat the oven to 275°F (135°C). Line a baking sheet with paper towels.
- Trim the tops and ends of the eggplant, then slice lengthwise into ¾-inch (2-centimeter) pieces. Sprinkle the eggplant pieces liberally with salt and place salted side down on paper towels. Sprinkle the other side with salt. Set aside for 30 minutes.
- Blot the eggplant slices dry with paper towels. Transfer to a large baking dish, arranging them in a single layer. Add the garlic, anchovies, and thyme and pour the oil over the top (the eggplant should be almost fully submerged, but it’s OK if it’s not completely). Sprinkle with the pepper. Bake until the eggplant slices are very soft, 60 to 75 minutes.
- The eggplant can be made up to 4 days in advance and stored completely submerged in oil in the refrigerator.