Monday, March 1, 2010

Char-Grilled Eggplant

Eggplant is one of the most under-rated veggies (it's actually a berry) around. Very nutritious if you eat the skin too.

Aaaaaaannnnnnnnddddddd if you do one simple trick there won't be any perceived bitterness nor will the eggplant soak up loads of oil --this means if you are making eggplant parmesan then you are forgiven for frying the breaded slices of eggplant instead of baking them.

But we aren't making eggplant parmesan today, we are just going to simply grill the slices. First though, we'll "treat" them so they aren't bitter (even if they aren't fresh) and so they don't absorb the olive oil and go mushy.

What you need:
1 eggplant
1 or 2 tsp sea salt
olive oil

What you do:

Slice the eggplant into slices 1 to 2 cm thick. I try to slice them around 1.5 cm which is 3/5 of an inch. Make sure you get the last slice or two under the "hat" of the eggplant as that's the most succulent part. Lightly salt all the slices and let them set for 30 minutes. You'll notice the slices start to sweat a yellowish liquid, that's ok cus they are supposed to.

After 30 minutes, go crank your gas barby on high (if you are using charcoal, then you had better've started the coals 30 minutes ago!). Next, rinse the eggplant slices and pat them dry.

Drizzle olive oil over the slices and gently toss them in a bowl to lightly coat the slices with olive oil.

Grill them slices! 2 or 3 minutes a side is enough. You'll only turn them once so check after 2 minutes that you've got a nice grill pattern on the bottom of a slice before turning them.

After both sides are char-grilled, serve them up as a side dish to pretty much anything. You'll find the skin has a pleasant, nutty flavour and is very tender. The flesh won't be "heavy" or "greasy" since the eggplant didn't absorb the oil!

You can use various spices when you are oiling the slices. I'll be using a combo of turmeric, cumin, and coriander along with the oil next time.


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