Grilled Eggplant

Looking for something a little different to serve with grilled meats? Eggplant couldn’t be easier. Often overlooked as a grilling option, all it requires is slicing and a bit of seasoning and the result is a top-notch side dish.

The plump, dark purple European variety of eggplant is best for grilling. Choose eggplants that have very glossy skins, no blemishes and are firm when gently squeezed. The top stem will still be green on a fresh eggplant. Here are two of my favorites. One is Asian inspired, the other is Italian. Both are very good, but any kind of seasoning that suits your menu could be used…Creole, Mexican, or lemon-pepper seasonings would work well.

Asian Style Grilled Eggplant

1 large eggplant
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 clove garlic, mashed
1 tablespoon soy sauce

Italian Style Grilled Eggplant

1 large eggplant
2 tablespoons olive oil
½ teaspoon salt
1 clove garlic, mashed
½ teaspoon dried Italian herb seasoning

About 10 minutes prior to grilling wash and dry the eggplant, but do not peel. Slice into ¾ inch slices, discarding the stem, and place on a piece of wax paper.

For both versions, combine the remaining ingredients. Drizzle the mix over both sides of the eggplant and rub lightly all over with your fingertips. Let sit for 5-10 minutes before grilling.

To grill, place on a clean, well-oiled medium hot grill grate. Grill until lightly brown on both sides, but do not over cook or the slices may become too tender to remove from the grill in one piece. Use a large heat-proof spatula to flip the slices (tongs might tear the slices).

Serve hot or at room temperature. One large eggplant should serve 3-4 people.

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