Make Ahead

Marinated Garden

June 18, 2011
3 Ratings
  • Serves 2 quarts or so
Author Notes

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

What You'll Need
  • 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
  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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!

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Lizthechef
  • fo
  • hardlikearmour
  • checker
  • AmyW

Recipe by: aargersi

Country living, garden to table cooking, recent beek, rescue all of the dogs, #adoptdontshop

22 Reviews

Loves P. June 23, 2011
I'm going to make this asap - having company for the 4th and need great antipasti. Thanks
Lizthechef June 22, 2011
I love this and can see endless variations on your winning theme!
fo June 21, 2011
oh how lovely. thank you so much for this post. i know what i will be making all summer!
hardlikearmour June 21, 2011
This looks and sounds amazing! Seriously perfect picnic food.
checker June 20, 2011
I see a Matisse, perhaps? One of those red rooms he was so fond of and did so well? Visually striking and delicious. Creative brilliance, I say.
aargersi June 20, 2011
Wow, what a nice thing to say! Thanks!!!
AmyW June 20, 2011
aargersi June 20, 2011
Thanks all! We had a "kitchen picnic" with this last night - bread, cheese, salami, and a Tavel, and it was really good!!!
nannydeb June 20, 2011
ahhhh, sounds perfect!
drbabs June 20, 2011
mrslarkin June 20, 2011
mmmm....summer in a jar! Very nice.
ivy June 19, 2011
That looks DELISH! Great idea!
wssmom June 19, 2011
Planning trip to farmer's market for this!
nogaga June 19, 2011
That is gorgeous!
susan G. June 18, 2011
That's a prolific garden, and a "flaunt it" presentation. Must be like a pot of gold/treasure hunt to serve. My garden consists of a few hot pepper plants in pots, so off to the farmers market -- in July.
Midge June 18, 2011
This is so gorgeous! And I love your idea of a picnic.
inpatskitchen June 18, 2011
Just beautiful! I'm waiting on tomatoes, cukes, zucchini etc. but the rabbits have decided that they like green beans and collards!!
aargersi June 18, 2011
I keep threatening to catch and eat the critters that go after the garden ... but I am really not a hunter :-)
boulangere June 18, 2011
Love your headnote. Love the imprecision/impromptuness, and especially measurements in glugs. But one of the great preparation instructions of recent memory has to be, "Layer and squish until the jar is full."

Great for a picnic, great for a gift.
aargersi June 18, 2011
glugging and squishing is fun!!!
Sagegreen June 18, 2011
Brilliant on all levels!!!
aargersi June 18, 2011
Thanks Sage! It's really pretty darn tasty and a good way to use my over-abundant eggplant crop (I may have gotten carried away planting :-)