This recipe can start one of two ways .... the first: On Jan 15th start your tomato seeds. Also start turning and composting your beds. Feb 15th - start eggplants. More turning, more compost. Obsessive seedling care. March 15 - plant tomatoes. Early April - more compost. Buy pepper seedlings. Add African Nightcrawler eggs. Plant peppers and eggplants. Water water water ... feed fish poo, water, flick caterpillars - well so you get the idea. The second: go to the farmers market and buy eggplants, tomatoes, peppers, onions, herbs. Either way, this is all about fresh garden stuff and summertime. I am not providing exact measurements because it's really going to depend on what you buy, and how you pack the jars, and how much you nibble along the way - I hope you like this as much as I do —aargersi
2 quarts or so
eggplant - sliced about 1/2 inch thick. Enough slices to cover a 12x18 cutting board twice. I have a variety of eggplants - get the ones that look prettiest
sliced tomatos - I have green zebra, heatwave, sweet tangerine and black krim - again - use what you like and what looks best
thinly sliced sweet onion
1 whole head garlic
thinly sliced chilis - I used Mucho nacho - not so hot - and cowhorn - super hot
chopped herbs - I used oregano and pineapple mint, but thyme, basil, lemon verbena, chives, marjoram would all be good
extra virgin olive oil
red wine vinegar
salt and pepper
mason jars and a grill
In This Recipe
Heat the grill to medium high - or if you are grill challenged you can use a griddle pan. Slice the eggplants - I did it one cutting board load at a time. Sprinkle one side with salt, flip them, sprinkle the other side with salt. Flip them back and drizzle with olive oil, flip back and get the other side with olive oil. Cut the top off the garlic so you can see the tops of the cloves, drizzle with olive oil and wrap loosley in heavy foil.
Put the garlic on the top rack or on indirect heat on the grill. Or in the oven if you are grill-less. Grill the eggplants until they have good grill marks and are softened but not cooked all they way through - you want them to maintain some texture. I grilled maybe 4-5 minutes per side but it will depend on your heat. Take them in and pile them on a plate while you slice, salt, oil, and grill you second load.
After the second batch of eggplant is done the garlic will be too. Time to pack the jars. I use wide mouth mason jars but whatever works for you ... Put a layer of a couple / three eggplant in the bottom of the jar. Layer in tomato, onion, some garlic. some sliced peppers. Grind some pepper and add a pinch of chopped herbs. Drizzle in oil and vinegar - I do this simultaneously so the amounts are fairly equal. Add another layer of each, and now you want to press the veggies in - you can do this with a spoon (the ladylike/gentlemanly way) or your clean hands (the Abbie way) Layer and squish until the jar is full. I lay a big slice of eggplant on top, give it one last glug of olive oil, and screw the top on.
Put the jar in the fridge at least overnight before you head off to your picnic. I am guessing they COULD last a couple weeks in the fridge, but they won't, you will eat them way before that. Pack your basket with veggies, some good rustic bread, some slicing cheese, and something cold and pink (Tavel - yum) and off you go!