Practicing Creativity

Excellent Grilled Eggplant!

We're in full aubergine (eggplant) season here in France, the perfect time to indulge in one of my favorite veggies. I love everything about eggplants: their shape, their color, their taste! I love to eat them any way you cook them. And the simplest way to cook them is one of the best – grilled! I spotted these colorful, locally grown mini-eggplants this week and had to give them a try. I've never prepared these mini ones before and wondered if they would taste the same. They were delicious, but I can't honestly say they tasted any different than a regular eggplant. I can see there might be an advantage to the mini size though, if say you were slicing them down the middle and serving the grilled halves as sides to something else, but rondelle sliced and grilled, I don't think they justified the price difference (these were much more expensive).

My favorite way to grill eggplant is in my new must-have kitchen appliance, the Ninja Foodi Grill. I bought one of these recently after Seattle Cousin told me about his. Since Hubs and I haven't eaten in a restaurant since March 10 – not so much as a take-away coffee! – I figure what we've saved eating at home has more than paid for it. I am now a complete convert. It's such a easy, healthy, tasty way to cook I find I'm using mine every day (note – Ninja is NOT paying me to say that, either). In addition to grilling, it also airfrys, roasts, bakes and dehydrates!

Grilled Eggplant

1) Wash, dry and slice eggplant in 1 cm rondelles (a little under 1/2 inch). Place the slices on a backing sheet, sprinkle with salt. Turn over and salt the other side. Let sit 15 minutes. This is a necessary step to keep your eggplant its culinary best, skip this and you risk a bitter, rubbery taste.

2) After fifteen minutes, dry the slices on a paper towel, wiping off excess water and salt. Wipe off the baking sheet and return the slices to it. With a oil spray bottle, spray first one side, then the other with olive oil. I use refillable spray bottles and all natural extra virgin olive oil. These are much more cost effective than purchasing olive oil sprays 

3) If you're using an indoor grill, warm it up. With my Ninja, I use the grill function, set to maximum for 10 minutes. When it beeps to tell me it's ready, I place the eggplant slices on a single layer in the grill. Grill for 5 minutes, then turn over and grill for 5 minutes more. Whatever you grill with will work (I used to use a George Foreman).

4) What you do after grilling is up to you. Sometimes I eat them straight away, as is. Other times I spritz a bit more oil and sprinkle with chopped tomatoes and fresh basil. Simple dried Italian seasonings and a touch more oil are always good, as is a dusting of sweet paprika and your choice of crumbled cheese (goat cheese, feta, mozzarella, parmesan, Gruyère..whatever you have on hand will do). Sometimes I grill up a batch and store in the frig to have on hand. I like adding them to salads, sandwiches, and pasta.

Whatever way you eat your excellent eggplant, enjoy while they're in season!

1 comment

  1. Admittedly, I'm not fond of eggplant....but I didn't know the tip about letting them sit, salt-sprinkled. Maybe I should give them another chance!


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