Just when the rest of my garden is looking fallen and dilapidated, it’s time to plant garlic for next year. Jill and I chatted about her garden last week and she offered to share an easy appetizer recipe that uses the garlic harvest and her garden eggplant. I’ve been roasting these two vegetables together constantly, probably wearing the exact same apron, though not with the cute pet pig. What harvest-inspired appetizers are you whipping up? -Maggie
One of the easiest things to grow is garlic, and October is the time to plant. This is me in my Eat Boutique apron (thank you, Maggie!) with garlic that has already been cured and trimmed. The largest cloves will be saved and planted for next year. Bury them into the ground about 2″ deep with the pointy part facing up. Cover with a few inches of hay or leaves, and wait.
Hard-neck varieties will produce a curly garlic scape in late spring. When it grows a complete loop, break off the scape and enjoy it in a stirfry, make a pesto, or pickle it. It’s sweet and tender with a texture similar to asparagus and has a mild garlic flavor.
By late July, when you see half of the leaves on the stalk turn brown, it’s time to harvest. These were left too late in the ground, evident by the lack of paper surrounding the bulbs. Garlic needs to be cured for 2-3 weeks by hanging in a dry, well-ventilated place, out of direct sunlight. Brush off dirt, trim off stalk and store in a paper bag for use all winter.
Here’s the last of the eggplant in the garden and it’s still flowering and bearing new fruit. I’m hoping this mild spell will hold out so these guys can grow a little bigger.
“No Henry, not for you!”
Both eggplant and garlic are wonderful drizzled with olive oil and roasted.
Roasting caramelizes and sweetens both eggplant and garlic. These were done in an earth oven, which added a nice earthy smokey flavor.
Mash peeled eggplant and garlic together with some fresh lemon juice, tahini, mayonnaise, parsley, cumin, paprika, and salt and pepper. Serve as a dip or spread with pita or flat bread.
Baba Ghanoush (Mashed Eggplant Spread)
Makes: 6 servings
- 2 whole garlic heads, unpeeled
- 5 small eggplants
- 1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
- ¼ cup plus 2 tbsp. tahini
- 2 tbsp. mayonnaise
- 1 tbsp. finely chopped parsley
- 1 tsp. ground cumin
- 1 tsp. paprika
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- Place garlic and eggplants on a foil-lined baking sheet, and broil until tender and charred all over, about 10 minutes for garlic, and about 40 minutes for eggplant. Peel and seed eggplants, and mash flesh with peeled garlic, juice, tahini, mayonnaise, 2 tsp. parsley, the cumin, paprika, and salt and pepper in a bowl; sprinkle with remaining parsley.
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