The key for this pickle is to let it age gracefully: The longer the eggplant sits in the marinade, the more the flavors meld and mellow. While 3 days is the shortest recommended time, we’ve enjoyed this crostini topper for up to 10 days.
Game plan: Keep the pickled eggplant refrigerated in an airtight container. Because of all the olive oil in the marinade, the mixture will solidify in the fridge. To serve, just remove the eggplant from the refrigerator at least 30 minutes ahead and let it come to room temperature so the oil liquefies again.
3/4 cup small-dice red bell pepper (about 1 medium pepper)
6 medium garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon dried oregano
Combine eggplant and salt in a large bowl. Nest another bowl on top of the eggplant and weigh it down with a few canned goods (beans or tomatoes work well); set aside for 1 hour.
Transfer eggplant to a fine mesh strainer and rinse off the salt under cold running water while tossing the eggplant with your hands. Press out any excess water, spread the eggplant in a single layer on a baking sheet, and pat dry with paper towels.
Combine vinegar and red pepper flakes in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Add eggplant and simmer for 2 minutes. Remove from heat and let eggplant stand in vinegar for 10 minutes.
Add remaining ingredients and stir to combine. Transfer to a 1-quart container with a tightfitting lid. Let cool to room temperature, cover, and refrigerate at least 3 days before serving.