Friday, March 13, 2009
These are some of the pickles I made last summer, from four different jars--
--Baby eggplants, fermented first, pickled later
--Mixed hot and sweet peppers, fermented first and pickled later
--Spicy dilly beans, pickled only
--Giardiniera (cauliflower, Romanesco broccoli, peppers, garlic) , pickled only
And a turkey sandwich-- home-roasted, buttermilk-brined turkey (a really big turkey breast from Heritage Foods- best turkey ever) on my favorite farmer's spelt bread.
The eggplant was a funny thing. I decided to leave the skins on, since they were all about golf ball-sized; I just washed and quartered them and tossed them into the brine. But after two weeks in the crock, something was amiss. They weren't spoiled, but the mouth-feel was wrong. The flesh was too soft, the skin was too toothy. The flavor was shallow and mainly metallic. But the eggplant whispered to me: give us a chance. So I jarred them up with basil, garlic, and red wine vinegar. And then, they sat. I cracked the first jar in about January- that means they pickled for 5 months. Something truly magical happened in vitro. The flavor became wonderfully complex, the skins softened, the flesh firmed up. I'm so glad I listened to the eggplant. I will always pickle eggplant now.