Summertime and the grilling is easy… Well, that’s me paraphrasing the George Gershwin classic, but the statement is spot on. Grilling is easy, and it is my favorite way of preparing food during the hot summer months. Over the years I figured out how to grill quite a few different things, and at the end of the day grilling is really easy and with a little practice you can get really good at grilling almost anything. My Grilled Portobello Steaks recipe was just the beginning of “From the Grill” section of this blog and in addition to that recipe and the Roasted Red Beets Hummus, there’s much more to come.
Today I am sharing a quick and easy way to make perfect grilled eggplant. Eggplant is a tricky vegetable to make because of its spongy texture that absorbs oil like crazy making almost every commonly encountered eggplant dish too oily and too rich. In the past I tried the trick where you sprinkle salt on the eggplant slices and let it sit between the paper towels, which does help but it adds salt and it takes time. More recently I started skipping all this and either simply cubing the eggplant, skin and all, or roasting the eggplant before stuffing.
Now this Grilled Eggplant recipe couldn’t be easier and does not require any special eggplant handling. Actually, the simple marinade I make, which includes couple of smokey spices, like smoked paprika, chili powder, liquid smoke and allspice, mixed with lemon juice and zest, can work well for summer squash, zucchini, or even tofu.
What you’ll need:
2 large eggplants
1/2 lemon, juice and zest
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons liquid smoke
1 teaspoons smoked paprika
1 teaspoons allspice
1 teaspoons chili powder
1 teaspoons onion powder
1 teaspoons garlic powder
What you’ll do:
- In a large plastic container with a tight fitting lid, mix lemon juice and zest, soy sauce, liquid smoke and all the spices to make a pasty marinade.
- Wash and dry the eggplant. Cut lengthwise into 1/4 in (2.5 cm) thick slices.
- Place the eggplant into the marinade. Cover every piece well (use your fingers to help spread it out) and stack ghee eggplant slices. Cover with the lid and let stand for 30 to 60 minutes on the kitchen counter.
- Prepare your outdoor grill as you normally do. For me this means turning all the burners on high (I have a gas grill) with the lid down for 10 minutes, turning the flames down to low then using a steel brush to clean the grill grate. Finally, before placing food on the grill, I oil the grill well. I use a pair of long tongs and a paper towel dipped in vegetable oil.
- Bring the heat up to medium. Spray each eggplant slice with a bit of cooking spray before placing on the grill. Leave it to grill on one side for about 4 to 5 minutes. Depending on how hot your grill is this may take a bit longer.
- Spread the leftover marinade over the top of the eggplant slices before turning over. Grill for another 3 to 5 minutes.
- Take off the grill and serve. The grilled eggplant works well as a topping for couscous, rice or polenta. It also works really well in sandwiches and salads. My serving suggestion would be to wrap it in a grilled pita topped with plain hummus and sprinkled with kalamata olives.
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