Late summer and early fall is probably my favorite time of year. Cool without being bone-numbingly cold. You still have the summer abundance of veggies, but it’s cool enough to actually use your kitchen. And it’s pickling time. I tend to make several small batches of different pickles instead of a few large batches. Invariably I have to cut a recipe way down to make the amount I want. I’m pretty much the only one in my house who really likes pickles, so there’s no sense in making 8 quart jars in a batch. I also tend to make pickles with whatever I have on hand instead of buying veggies specifically to pickle, so I never have a ton at once.
These pickles were one such case. I love eggplant, but the Miss and the Wife won’t touch it. So I wasn’t quite sure what to do with it when I got a few in my CSA box. After much consideration (and a bit too much procrastination) pickles became the default choice.
This makes a nice tart, somewhat spicy pickle. Like most eggplant pickles, though, it does have a certain slime factor. I think it gives a nice full mouthfeel, but if you’re easily icked-out by slimy textures, this isn’t for you.
1 lb eggplant, sliced 1/4″ thick (I used one standard globe, quartered and one Japanese eggplant)
1/8 cup fresh basil leaves
3 Hungarian peppers with seeds, cut into 1/4″ rings
zest and juice of 1 lime
1/2 cup white wine vinegar
1/2 cup water
1 tsp salt
Bring the vinegar, water, lime juice and salt to a boil. Add the eggplant, peppers, basil and lime zest, cover and simmer for 5 minutes. Pack into a jar and leave to rest in the fridge for about 2 weeks. After 2 weeks, add 2 Tbsp simple syrup and leave to rest an additional week. Will keep at least a month.
(Note: I tasted the eggplant after the first two weeks and thought it was too sour…not vinegary tart, just sour, so I added the syrup. You could probably just toss in a bit of sugar up front for the same result.)
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