Grilled Eggplant With Mint

grilledeggplant

I was shopping at my local grocery store when I came across these baby Italian eggplants and knew I had to add them to my menu that evening. As we were already planning on grilling, I decided to grill slices of the eggplant lightly brushed with olive oil. After they are cooked, the tender eggplant slices are lightly dressed with olive oil, garlic, mint and just a small splash of balsamic vinegar.

Luckily, eggplants are never really out of season as they grow well anywhere with sufficient sunshine, so be sure to only buy them fresh. Eggplants should be firm to the touch, with tight, shiny skins. Avoid any with obvious blemishes or dimples in their flesh. Use the thumb test if you are unsure as to it’s vintage. Using slight pressure, press your thumb into the fleshy part of the eggplant. If the pressure causes a blemish, pass that eggplant by. Also, choose eggplants that seem heavy for their size, as lightweight eggplants generally reflect pulpy choices, full of seeds.

Some cooks never feel it necessary to peel the skin of an eggplant before cooking, while others always do. That is simply personal preference, and I sometimes do depending on the recipe, or the size of the eggplant, as generally the larger the eggplant, the tougher the skin. Since the eggplants I used in this recipe were small and very firm, peeling was not necessary.

Salting is another matter that has cooks disagreeing, but I generally salt any eggplant that I have not picked fresh myself from my own garden or unless it is very small and firm as these eggplants were. Salting not only removes the bitter juices, but will help prevent the eggplant from absorbing oil if frying is the preparation method of choice. To “salt” an eggplant, simply sprinkle coarse salt uniformly on slices placed in a colander. Place a weight upon the slices, and let them drain in the sink for at least 30 minutes. Later, just pat dry of any excess salt and use in your recipe.

Buon Appetito!
Deborah Mele 2011

Grilled Eggplant With Mint

Grilled Eggplant With Mint

Yield: Serves 4
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes

Mint is the perfect herb to enhance the earthy flavor of grilled eggplant.

Ingredients

  • 4 Baby Eggplants, or 2 Medium Eggplants
  • 1/4 Cup Olive Oil
  • Salt & Pepper

Dressing:

  • 1/4 Cup Olive Oil
  • 2 Cloves Garlic, Finely Minced
  • 4 Tablespoons Fresh Mint, Finely Chopped
  • 1 Teaspoon Balsamic Vinegar
  • Salt & Pepper

Instructions

  1. Preheat the grill.
  2. Remove the stem end of the eggplant and slice it lengthwise into 1/3 of an inch slices.
  3. Season 1/4 cup olive oil with salt and pepper and lightly brush both sides of each eggplant slice.
  4. Grill the eggplant 2 to 3 minutes on each side until lightly brown and tender.
  5. Remove to a serving plate.
  6. Mix together the dressing ingredients and drizzle over top the eggplant.
  7. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 4 Serving Size: 3 pieces
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 541 Total Fat: 29g Saturated Fat: 4g Trans Fat: 0g Unsaturated Fat: 24g Cholesterol: 0mg Sodium: 158mg Carbohydrates: 75g Fiber: 22g Sugar: 27g Protein: 7g