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Fresh at Farmers Markets This Week

As eggplant joins the march of summer produce available at farmers tailgate markets, our thoughts are turning to Middle Eastern meze. You can easily fill several platters with a colorful combination of tomatoes, cucumbers, roasted squash and beets, babaganoush, hummus, tzatziki, eggs, olives, pickles, and pita for a feast. Or you could toss everything into a single pita for thoroughly satisfying sabich sandwich.

Sabich is an addictive Israeli street food usually centered around fried eggplant, hard-boiled egg, and tomato-cucumber salad. You can assemble just about everything you need from farmers market vendors, starting with pita from Hominy Farm (North Asheville, Black Mountain, and River Arts District markets). 

Slice eggplant (both Asian or Italian types will work) into ½-inch rounds. Salt the rounds and let them drain on a wire rack or paper towels for 30 minutes. Press with a towel to remove some of the moisture. Heat a few tablespoons of oil in a frying pan and fry eggplant in batches for about five to seven minutes. Alternatively, you can roast or grill your eggplant. Feel free to add other veggies, like yellow squash or zucchini, as well. (Eggplant is available now from Flying Cloud Farm and Full Sun Farm at North Asheville and River Arts District markets as well as Jake’s Farm at ASAP and Enka-Candler markets.)

Fill the bottom of a slightly toasted pita pocket with a generous spread of hummus, either homemade or store bought. Layer in slices of eggplant and hard-boiled egg. Top with a salad of diced tomatoes and cucumbers tossed with lemon juice, parsley, and salt. Some recipes also include shredded cabbage. Sabich traditionally calls for dill pickles and amba, a pickled green mango sauce, but you can substitute other pickled or fermented condiments, such as Serotonin Ferment’s beets or preserved lemon. (Find Serotonin at ASAP, North Asheville, West Asheville, and River Arts District markets.) Drizzle a tahini sauce over your sandwich and dig in.

At farmers markets now you’ll also find blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, peaches, green beans, new potatoes, corn, carrots, broccoli, lettuce, microgreens, mushrooms and much more. Markets are also stocked with bread, cheese, pastries, drinks, and prepared foods. There are more than 100 farmers tailgate markets throughout the Appalachian Grown region. Find them, as well as farms and other local food businesses, in ASAP’s online Local Food Guide.

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