Late June Harvest: thyme, purslane and eggplant

I love this time of year! The garden is giving us something great almost every day for dinner (or at least a snack.) I’m getting enough eggplant these days for at least a meal a week – maybe two. There are lots of green tomatoes on the vines, and my peppers are beginning to produce as well. The salad greens continue to do well, and the more recently planted greens should be ready to harvest in the next week or two.

The purslane was particularly ready for a haircut – flower buds were forming, and each sprig was over 18 inches tall, and starting to droop over a little. With that bounty of purslane and eggplant, it could only be a Turkish style dinner. With the eggplant, I made a deconstructed manti, a traditional pierogi-esque dish with ground lamb, mint, thyme and dill. Instead of going through the trouble of making dumplings, this version is more of a pasta with “sauce” dish. It’s hard to look at all those ingredients and think this would be anything but delicious! I cut the amount of ground lamb down to a quarter pound – it’s more of a seasoning than the main part of the dish. The only adjustment I made to the recipe was to add lots of paprika to the pot after the lamb was browned. That’s probably just the Hungarian in me.

For the purslane, I’ve been craving this Turkish purslane salad from Cafe Fernando. The succulent, jewel-like leaves have a very bright citrus-like flavor, and they taste very “green.” The dressing of this salad gives several hot flavors to balance out the coolness of the purslane and yogurt base of the dressing. Yogurt is blended with a healthy does of raw garlic and ginger, and hot pepper flakes are sprinkled throughout. Overall, a great early summer meal; hopefully the first of many such meals from the garden!

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