Clean the eggplant, remove ends, wash and peel, then cut into small strips lengthwise.
Place them on a large plate and sprinkle generously with coarse salt. Cover and leave to rest for a few hours.
Then, squeeze them tightly to eliminate all the liquid they contain. Wash and dry the sliced eggplant and return it to the plate. Cover with vinegar and let marinate for another couple of hours.
Then, squeeze again to get rid of the vinegar, and arrange the eggplant slices in layers in glass jars, alternating each layer with roughly chopped mint leaves and wild fennel sprigs. Finally, press down carefully and cover with olive oil.
Store for a couple of months before eating. Once the jar has been opened, consume the eggplants within 3 months.
Although chili peppers have been used in Europe for almost five centuries, they appear in only some of Italy’s regional cuisines, especially those of the south.
Imported in the Old World as early as 1493 by Christopher Columbus, the chili pepper was possibly the first plant from America to spread across Europe thanks to its similarities with the more common bell pepper.
Although it was an immediate success in most of the continent, imports of this spicy pepper did not bring the expected gains to Spain, due to the fact that within a few years the Europeans realized that it was possible to grow them with ease even on European soil, causing their price to fall drastically.
Within a very short time, chili pepper become a characteristic ingredient of food for the poor, gaining the nickname "the drug of the poor."
Did you know that...
in the biography of the last Aztec emperor, Montezuma, it is said that while he was a prisoner of Cortes, he spent his time eating food seasoned with red chili pepper?
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