Grilling eggplant doesn't just give it a smoky flavor, it also helps cook it quickly so it stays tender without getting mushy. Different varieties will give you different flavors and textures, so I like to use long, slender Ichiban because it's sweet, mild, and slightly creamy. Another great variety to use is Black Beauty, which is what you most often see in grocery stores. It's a little heartier and can hold up to grilling without falling apart or becoming soggy.:
Yield: 4 servings
- Vegetable oil (for oiling the grill)
- 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
- 1/4 cup packed basil leaves, roughly chopped
- 1/4 cup packed flat leaf parsley leaves, roughly chopped
- 1/4 cup dill fronds, roughly chopped
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil (EVOO), plus more for drizzling
- 2 tbsp. capers, drained and roughly chopped
- 2 tbsp. red wine vinegar
- 1/4 tsp. red chili flakes
- Kosher salt
- Freshly cracked black pepper
- 1.5 pounds eggplant (about 1 large black beauty or 6 to 7 ichiban)
- 2 tbsp. tahini
- 3 oz. feta, crumbled
- Clean and oil the grill grates, then preheat your grill (or grill pan) to medium-high heat.
- In a small bowl mix together the garlic, basil, parsley, dill, EVOO, capers, red wine vinegar, chili flakes, 1/2 tsp. salt and 1/2 tsp. black pepper. Set aside until needed.
- Slice the eggplant. If using a Black Beauty variety, cut into 1/2-inch thick rounds. If using Ichiban, slice in half lengthwise. Place on a sheet tray and brush both sides (just the cut side of the ichiban) with EVOO and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
- Place cut side down on the grill and cook for 3 to 4 minutes, or until you see grill marks. Flip and cook 2 to 3 minutes longer, or until tender.
- Remove the eggplant, place it on a platter, and top it with a drizzle of tahini, the herbed salsa, crumbled feta, more black pepper, and whole parsley leaves. Serve immediately.
Recipe and photos by Megan Mitchell.