I went to a BBQ with old coworkers a couple of weekends ago in Salem (MA), and ran into a foodie from Israel who left my company a few years back. I remember her going away party as being the culinary highlight of a lot of years in the office: all spices and interesting fresh cheeses and wines. I didn’t know she’d be at the BBQ! It was great to catch up with her.
She arrived with her arms full: wine, two beautiful loaves of bread (similar to ciabatta but a little denser), a big tupperware of a smoked eggplant relish (for lack of a better term) to put on bread and burgers, and a rotund jar of homemade peach preserves.
If I remember correctly, the eggplant dish started with eggplant brushed with olive oil and grilled or roasted in the oven, then the flesh was scooped out of the skin and mashed up with some vinegar (she said vinegar or lemon, but i think she used vinegar). Salt, pepper, chopped tomatoes, and there was something else I’m forgetting… maybe an herb. It was delicious!
The preserves were made from peaches she bought, whole almonds, lemon peel, and I’m not sure what else. It was sweet but also a little tart, which I loved. I have never encountered whole nuts (or any nuts!) in preserves before. It was almost like a dessert chutney, or a tart, crustless pie. Mmmm.
Sigh. BBQ season is almost over.