Lemon Thyme Garlic Paste

Lemon Thyme Garlic Paste

Yield: 1/4 cup

12 medium garlic cloves, peeled

4 teaspoons olive oil

1/2 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves, minced or 1/4 teaspoon dried leaves

zest of half a lemon

juice from half a lemon

salt to taste

*several Altoids for after consuming (optional)

Add garlic cloves to a mortar bowl and use the pestle to crush them. Add one teaspoon of oil and mash with the garlic to create a paste. Gradually add two more teaspoons and continue mashing.

Add the thyme, zest, and salt to the garlic and oil. Work them into the mash, pressing against the wall of the mortar to crush the herbs and zest and bring out the oils. Add the rest of the oil and the lemon juice. Stir, taste, and adjust seasonings and oil to get the flavor and texture you want.

I used my paste to coat a chicken thigh and two halves of a Japanese eggplant from my garden. I sprinkled grated Parmesan cheese on the eggplant as well. Then I baked the chicken and eggplant at 375˚ for about an hour, until they were beautifully browned. Both were tender and while the flavor of the garlic, mellowed from cooking, predominated, I loved undertones of lemon and bright thyme.