Little back story: one of our friends claimed to not like eggplant. I took the challenge to come up with an entire dinner menu made with eggplant...from Eggplant Boats to Creamy Eggplant Soup and Braised Lamb Over Eggplant Puree to dessert. Yes! Even dessert. I made an Italian dessert - Melanzane al Cioccolato - with eggplant and chocolate. And, of course, I ordered eggplant hats for everyone.
Bear in mind that I was just getting started in blogging, so my write-ups were atrocious. Mental note to go back and redo those posts! But, in any case, the dinner was a wild success and the eggplant-averse friend declared, to my delight, Okay, I like eggplant now!
So, I was excited to pick Grilled Eggplant + 12 Ways for this week's #KitchenMatrixCookingProject. I love cooking and serving eggplant, but I realize that I don't grill it often. I usually roast it. Before I get to my offering this week, here the rest of the crew's take on grilled eggplant.
Bittman offers 12 different suggestions for using grilled eggplant and all of them look delicious! I can't wait to try the North African style with honey and ground meat or the Chinese style with hoisin sauce and fresh ginger. But for today's post, I decided to create a riff on Bittman's Italian style grilled eggplant. This was a hit and will certainly be on our table again soon...after the other eggplant dishes, that is.
- 1 large organic eggplant, washed, dried, and sliced into 1/2" steaks
- balsamic vinegar
- olive for greasing the grill pan
- freshly ground salt
- freshly ground pepper
- 2 organic tomatoes, cubed - approximately 3/4 C
- 1 round of fresh mozzarella, cubed - approximately 3/4 C
- 2 T fresh basil leaves, chopped + more for garnish
- olive oil
Generously salt the eggplant on both side, laying them on a wire rack over a baking sheet to drain for at least 45 minutes. After the 45 minutes, rinse all of the salt off and place in a baking dish. Drizzle with balsamic vinegar and let marinate for 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 200 degrees F. During the last 10 minutes of marinating, heat a grill pan on the stove - or use a real grill. Oil the pan when hot and place the eggplant steaks on the grill pan. Cook till the eggplant is softened and with distinctive marks, approximately 4 to 5 minutes on each side.
Place grilled eggplant on a baking sheet and in the oven to keep warm until ready to serve.
Toss the tomatoes and mozzarella together in a bowl for a quick caprese salad. Drizzle with olive oil and season to taste with salt and pepper.