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Pickled Eggplants

This is one for garlic lovers! These Middle Eastern delicacies are delicious with cold meats. Always use the smallest eggplants you can find, making sure they are unblemished, firm, glossy, and as fresh as possible. Vary the spicing if you prefer them hotter.

ingredients

2 pounds very small eggplants
3 quarts water
2 tablespoons coarse (kosher) salt
2 lemons, quartered
about 12 cloves garlic
2 white or yellow onions, sliced
2 bay leaves
10 white peppercorns
1 tablespoon allspice berries
4 small red or green chilies
1 cup distilled white vinegar
1 tablespoon sugar

method

1. Remove the stems from the eggplants, being careful not to tear the skins.

2. Place 2 quarts water, salt, and lemons in a large pot and bring to a boil over high heat.

3. Add the eggplants and parboil them for 10 minutes, adding more water to cover the eggplants, if necessary.

4. Remove and drain, then cut a slit in the center of each eggplant. Insert a garlic clove in each slit.

5. Pour remaining 1-quart water into a 3-quart enamel or stainless-steel pan, and add the onions, bay leaves, peppercorns, allspice berries, chilies, vinegar, and sugar. Bring to a boil over high heat, then add the eggplants. Turn off the heat, and let the eggplants cool to room temperature in the liquid. When cold, place the eggplants in four 1 quart canning jars, covering them with the pickling liquid and dividing the spices equally among the jars. Close and refrigerate.

6. Serve after 3 days; keeps 3 weeks in the refrigerator.

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