Today I’m going to show you how to grill eggplant slices. Sliced eggplant is great on the grill because it soaks up all the smoke and flavor from the fire, and they work great with marinades. The nice thing about them as well is you can grill them ahead of time; they are great served at room temperature or hot off the grill.
There are a ton of things you can do with eggplant slices, you can marinade them, or just season them up with salt and pepper. I’m going to do a little something different with mine. I’m going to sprinkle mine with some fresh mozzarella cheese, diced tomatoes, and some fresh basil. It’s going to be good.
So what you are going to need is a couple of eggplants. Try to get a couple that are more cylindrical rather than bulbous, you will get more uniform slices that way, which will help with cooking time. Once you have your eggplant cut them crosswise into ½ inch slices. Now sprinkle both sides of the slices with coarse salt and let them sit.
After about 30 minutes you will see tiny beads of juices coming out. The salt is drawing out the bitter juices from the eggplant which will give you sweeter, milder tasting eggplant. You could skip this step if you are short on time, but I always find that they turn out better when I do this. After the 30 minutes has passed rinse them off under cold water and dry with a paper towel.
Set up your gas or charcoal grill for direct grilling over high heat. Rub some olive oil on both sides and sprinkle on some black pepper, oregano, hot pepper flakes, and minced garlic. Place the eggplant slices on the grill and cook until they are browned on both sides, which will be approximately 5 to 8 minutes per side. Use some long tongs like these to flip them, it makes the process easier.
Once done remove them from the grill and let them cool to room temperature. If you want at this point you can refrigerate them and use them later. Once they are cooled we are going to top them with our mozzarella, tomato, and basil mixture.
In a mixing bowl combine 1 large diced tomato, about 5 ounces of diced fresh mozzarella, 8 leaves of fresh basil that has been slivered, and 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil. Mix all of the ingredients together well. This can be made ahead of time and refrigerated as well. Once mixed, spoon the mixture on top of the eggplant slices and serve.
That is how to grill eggplant slices that turn out great. There are so many variations you can try. Experiment with different marinades or seasonings to get a really unique flavor, or try adding a bit of smoke. The options are really endless.
image courtesy of woodlywonderworks/flickr