Learning how to grill eggplant is easy with the right tricks. Abundant in the summertime and full of flavor, this shiny purple vegetable adds color and style to your backyard barbeque. Grilled eggplant is a fantastic pairing with grilled steaks, chicken or fish – and it’s delicious all on its own.
The trick to creating the perfect grilled eggplant is to remove as much moisture as possible, with some help from salt and towels. Drying out the eggplant allows it to actually be grilled, instead of steamed, over the fire – which maintains the texture and enhances the flavor.
Several varieties of the vegetable work well for making grilled eggplant. The classic eggplant that you are probably the most familiar with is the American Globe. It’s the large, deep purple eggplant with an oblong shape and firm, slightly spongy flesh – and it’s ideal for grilling.
You can also try grilling Japanese Eggplant, a longer and thinner variety that is very versatile. It has fewer seeds, and an appealingly mild taste. Another fun option for summertime grilling is the Graffiti Eggplant, which is mottled with purple and white. Creamy and velvety, it features a rich and fruity flavor and works well alongside spicy meats and bold dishes.
No matter which variety of eggplant you want to grill, choose eggplants that give slightly when pressed, are free from blemishes, and feel heavy for their size.
How to Grill Eggplant
What You’ll Need:
- Coarse Salt
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- Freshly Ground Black Pepper
- Grill or Grill Pan
- Paper or Cloth Towels
- Cooking Brush
Directions for the Perfect Grilled Eggplant:
- Start by cutting your eggplant into ½-inch slices, as evenly as possible.
- Sprinkle your eggplant slices with coarse salt on both sides. You’ll need about one tablespoon of salt for every pound of eggplant that you will be grilling.
- Place your salted eggplant slices in a colander, and set the colander over a bowl. Let the slices sit for one hour to drain. This removes the excess moisture from the eggplant.
- Rinse your eggplant slices under cold water, then place them between several layers of paper towels or clean cloth towels to dry. Press out the water – you want the eggplant to be as dry as possible.
- Get the grill ready. Remove any leftover char from the grates, and preheat the grill on medium-high heat. You can also use a grill pan.
- Brush both sides of your eggplant slices with extra virgin olive oil. You’ll need about two tablespoons of oil for every pound of grilled eggplant – make sure the surface is coated well. After brushing both sides of each slice with oil, sprinkle each side generously with pepper.
- Put your eggplant slices on the grill, and cook for five to six minutes or until browned on the bottom. Flip the slices, and cook until browned on the bottom again.
- Serve your grilled eggplant immediately while hot, after drizzling with olive oil and sprinkling again lightly with salt and pepper. Enjoy!
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