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Balsamic Eggplant Relish

November 17, 2014

Delicious tossed through pasta too.

Delicious tossed through pasta too

A little while ago, in a gardening frenzy, we planted some edibles: eggplant, tomatoes, kale, passionfruit & chillies. Not particularly because these were our favourites but we saw the seedlings at the local market and we were feeling optimistic!!

However, our optimism was short-lived when the local possums discovered that we had very kindly provided them with a smorgasbord of Mediterranean bent… They devoured our tomatoes, the kale didn’t reach past it’s infancy and apparently passion-fruit tendrils are a delicacy!

We tried all sorts of possum deflection tactics (as kindly advised by well-meaning friends) including cat wee, rubber snakes and galvanised angle tacked onto the fence: the possum super highway. And obviously, our family dog, Claude, was no help at all. None. (Insert blow raspberry here)

I might add though, possums do not like chillies, especially scotch bonnet chillies with a Scoville scale of 350,000! BUT NEITHER DO I!!!??? What were we thinking?!

So we gave up. And those little yellow suckers proliferated. We tried to give them away but no one would have them! We quickly worked out that you don’t use one of these tiny hot bombs in a curry, you use a quarter!

The other day I decided to prune the dead fruit from the unassuming chilli plant and low & behold, made a wonderful discovery! Under the chilli plant was a crop – yes – a crop of magnificent Japanese eggplant. Obviously, the possum had made the scotch bonnet mistake only once and had avoided this area, leaving the eggplant to flourish!

So proud we were, having been excited over a lone tomato or two, and a few sprigs of kale, we were now market gardeners of eggplant!! I have previously professed my love of eggplant here, here and here. And love to make my fabulous eggplant jerky (or chips) too. But with Christmas coming up, now is the time to start thinking about edible gifts so I made a quick and easy eggplant relish, scented with balsamic and rosemary. It bottles well and is yummy served hot or cold with barbeque meats, or even tossed through pasta as a hot dish or salad. Keep it in the fridge, it will last for a few weeks.

Turn regularly to char all over.

Turn regularly to char all over.

750g eggplant

60g olive oil
1 20cm sprig of rosemary
1 rib celery, sliced thinly
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 spring onions, finely sliced
1 tomato, chopped
100g water
1 – 2 teas salt
1/2 teas sumac
1 tab balsamic vinegar
1 tab balsamic glaze (ready-made or make your own here)
2 tabs chopped parsley
3 tabs sliced olives, black or green
 
Grill 350g of the eggplant over a naked flame until charred all over. Set aside. Chop the remaining 400g eggplant into 2cm cubes and sauté in batches with the olive oil and rosemary until golden on all sides. Add the garlic, celery and spring onions and continue to saute for a further 5 minutes.
 
When the charred eggplant is cool enough to handle, rub off the skins and chop coarsely and add to the pan with the water & chopped tomato. Do not be tempted to rinse them under water as you will wash away all of the flavour. It’s ok if some charred skin gets in to the mix.
 
Cook gently for 10 minutes until the water has been absorbed and the eggplant is tender. Add the remaining ingredients and cook a further 5 minutes for the flavours to incorporate. Remove the rosemary, taste for seasoning and bottle.
 
 
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3 Comments leave one →
  1. November 17, 2014 7:37 pm

    Your relish sounds wonderful Sarah. I got a giggle from your story about the possums. I too have battled hungry nocturnal thieves. They do eat anything and everything, the little buggers.

    • November 17, 2014 7:41 pm

      Believe me, I wasn’t giggling a few weeks ago!!

      • November 17, 2014 8:01 pm

        No. I can imagine. My screams of disappointment and frustration rang out in the early morning when I saw my garden decimated too.

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