I find that eggplant generally gets a bad rap. I’m not sure if people are averse to its texture or flavor, or they are just not familiar with how to prepare it, but I absolutely love eggplant, so I’m on a mission to change minds about this delicious nightshade (the same family as potatoes and tomatoes)!
While eggplant can be stuffed, fried, roasted, curried and sautéed, grilling it is my absolute favorite way to prepare this underappreciated vegetable. I love the smokiness that the grill adds, and I find that the absorbency of eggplant helps it to take on whatever flavor profile you use. That's one of the reason why it works well with so many different cuisines. Eggplant is hearty enough to be the star of the show and work as an entrée, but can also support a meal as a delicious side dish. I encourage you to check out your grocery stores and farmers markets and experiment with different types of eggplant – graffiti eggplant, Japanese eggplant, white eggplant etc.
This summer I used globe eggplants from the grocery store, the most common type of eggplant in most US grocery stores, to create three very different, but all delicious dishes. Because eggplant contains a lot of water, some recipes will recommend that you salt the eggplant in advance to draw out some of the water prior to cooking, but I didn’t find that to be necessary when grilling the eggplant.
The first, Grilled Eggplant Parmesan is a fun twist on the traditional eggplant parmesan. You won’t need to worry about getting your hands messy with breading the eggplant, the house won’t be excessively hot from frying, and even your kids will be asking for more.
My Ginger-Miso-Sesame Glazed Eggplant has a complex flavor profile, courtesy of the miso, and is delicious over rice, or you can serve it next to some grilled chicken and sesame noodles for a tasty Asian inspired meal.
Lastly, I smoked a whole eggplant and pureed it into a delicious Smoky Eggplant and Yogurt Dip with Pomegranates. This dip is beautiful and would be perfect as a part of any party spread.
I hope you’ll give eggplant a second chance and try each of these recipes. Whether you’re grilling outside or inside, I’m confident your taste buds will thank you!
Grilled Eggplant Parmesan
Serves 2 as an entree
1 globe eggplant
1/4 cup Frantoia olive oil
2 Tablespoons TBC garlic salt
1 Tablespoon pepper
1/2 cup tomato sauce (store bought is just fine!)
1/3 cup shredded mozzarella
1/3 cup grated Parmesan
12 fresh basil leaves (or however many slices of eggplant you have)
Cream of Balsamic
1. Preheat the grill (or grill pan) to medium-high (about 350-400 degrees).
2. Slice eggplant, skin on, into ½ inch thick coins.
3. Mix together TCB garlic salt and pepper, set aside.
4. Mix together mozzarella and parmesan cheeses, set aside.
5. Brush both sides of eggplant with olive oil and season with garlic salt and pepper mixture.
6. Grill eggplant over direct heat, about 3 minutes (I close the lid to keep the heat in).
7. Once you have good color and grillmarks, flip the eggplant and grill another 3 minutes.
8. Add about 1 Tablespoon of tomato sauce on each slice of grilled eggplant (don’t overdo it) trying not to drip over the sides.
9. Top with 1 Tablespoon of cheese and 1 basil leaf.
10. Close the lid for 1-2 minutes, until the cheese is melted.
11. Stack the eggplant slices 3-4 high and enjoy! I love our Cream of Balsamic drizzled over the top.
Ginger-Miso-Sesame Glazed Eggplant
Scroll down for a printable version of this recipe
Serves 4 as a side
1 globe eggplant (Japanese or Chinese eggplants would be delicious too)
1/4 cup grapeseed oil
2 Tablespoons toasted sesame oil
1/3 cup miso paste
1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
1 Tablespoon rice wine vinegar
1 Tablespoon soy sauce
1 bunch scallions
1 Tablespoon sesame seeds
1. Preheat the grill (or grill pan) to medium-high (350-400 degrees).
2. Slice each eggplant into 1/2-inch coins.
3. In a small bowl, mix together sesame oil, miso, ginger, rice wine vinegar and soy sauce.
4. Brush each side of each eggplant coin with grapeseed oil.
5. Grill eggplant over direct heat for 3 minutes, or until you have good color/grill marks.
6. Flip the eggplant and allow to grill for another 3 minutes.
7. Add whole scallions to the grill, flipping to char all sides.
8. Brush the top of each slice of eggplant with the miso mixture.
9. Close the lid and allow the miso to glaze the eggplant, about 1 minute.
10. Plate the eggplant with a drizzle of any remaining miso, the grilled scallions and a sprinkle of sesame seeds.
Smoky Eggplant and Yogurt Dip Topped with Pomegranates
1 globe eggplant
2 teaspoons grapeseed oil
1/4 red onion
1 Tablespoon lemon juice
2 Tablespoons fresh parsley
1 Tablespoon fresh mint
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon cayenne
1/4 cup plain Greek yogurt, plus 1-2 tbs more
1 Tablespoons tahini (or sesame oil, if you don’t have tahini)
Salt and pepper to taste
1. Preheat the grill to medium-high heat (35-400 degrees).
2. Brush the whole eggplant with grapeseed oil.
3. Place the eggplant and red onion on the grill over direct heat.
4. Close the lid, opening occasionally, to turn the eggplant and char all sides (about 15-20 minutes). Remove the onion once charred (about 5 minutes), set aside.
5. Once the eggplant is charred and soft, remove from the grill.
6. Once the eggplant is cool enough to handle, cut it in half, and remove as much skin as possible (some is okay).
7. Squeeze out any excess water from the eggplant.
8. Add the eggplant, onion, lemon juice, parsley, mint, paprika, cayenne, Greek yogurt, and tahini to a food processor and blend until smooth. Taste and season with salt and pepper.
9. Place eggplant dip into serving bowl and swirl with 1-2 tbs of Greek yogurt and top with pomegranate seeds. Serve with pita chips and crudité!
Now that you’ve mastered grilling eggplant, roll up your sleeves and join us on our patio at Lincoln Square for a hands-on grilling class: Grilling Boot Camp on Saturday, September 26, 2020.
If you’d rather sit back and relax, we’ve got some excellent grilling demonstrations coming up, including:
- Grilling Fiesta on the Patio, Friday September 11
- Chicken on the Grill, Saturday September 12
- Tapas on the Grill, Sunday, September 13
- Pizza on the Grill, Saturday, September 19
- Date Night on the Patio, Saturday, September 19, and
- New Orleans Brunch on the Grill, Sunday, September 20.
If you’d rather stay at home and join us virtually, we have some excellent cook along classes and demonstrations coming up. We have Sushi Night on Friday, September 11, Family Night on Sunday, September 13 and Meatless Monday – Indian Vegetarian on Monday, September 14.
And if you’re craving some of your Chopping Block favorite products like Truffle Salt, Garlic Salt, Frantoia Olive OIl, Cream of Balsamic, or Jalapeno Gold, submit a curbside order to Lincoln@thechoppingblock.com – we offer pick up on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays from 3pm-5pm.