Mulinciana a Schibecci
Region: Italy, Sicily
Category: Antipasto, Meze, Tapas, and Hors d'Oeuvres
Difficulty: Labor Intensive
This Sicilian antipasto is truly quite extraordinary. In Sicilian it’s called mulinciana a schibecci. The Sicilian word for ceviche is schibecci and the dish gets this name because of the use of vinegar and its preserving affect. Every time I make this eggplant relish my guests are very much wowed and I know yours will be too. I would not cut the recipe in half because you will find yourself dipping into this dish as long as you have it. A tomato sauce, needed in this recipe, can be made quickly by heating some olive oil with chopped garlic and a little onion and cooking it for a few minutes, then adding crushed tomatoes and some whole fresh basil leaves and cooking for another 30 minutes.
[photo: Clifford A. Wright]
Yield: Makes 12 servings
Preparation Time: 1:30 hours
1. Lay the eggplant pieces on some paper towels and sprinkle with salt. Leave them to drain of their bitter juices for 30 minutes, then pat dry with paper towels.
2. Preheat the frying oil in a deep-fryer or an 8-inch saucepan fitted with a basket insert to 375 degrees F. Fry the eggplant until golden on both sides, about 8 minutes in all. Don’t crowd the fryer; fry in batches.
3. In a large skillet or casserole, heat the extra virgin olive oil over medium-high heat, then cook the onion until yellow, about 10 minutes, stirring frequently. Add the eggplant and mix very gently, lifting and folding rather than stirring. Dissolve the sugar in the vinegar and pour into the casserole. Let it evaporate for 5 minutes, then add the tomato sauce. Simmer over low to medium heat for 15 minutes. Add the mint, pepper, and cheese and mix well, but carefully, and cook for 1 minute. Remove from the heat and transfer to a serving platter. Salt to taste, let the ceviche come to room temperature and serve.