Friday, October 30, 2009

Grilled Eggplant dish

Let me get straight into a great seasonal salad with a short introduction. One of my favourite appetizers is the Grilled Eggplant dish. This seasonal eggplant salad recipe is adapted from one of my recipes, and I have been making and enjoying it for well a decade now. My best friends, who ordinarily does not like eggplant all that much, is crazy about this dish.

I used eggplant, tomato, and parsley fresh out of my aunts kitchen garden for this Greek vegetarian recipe. When I cut the eggplant, it was “dripping its honey” as they say in Greece. The tomatoes were moments from the vine, and the parsley was simply redolent with the freshness of its immediacy to hand. I cannot adequately express in words the total satisfaction of cooking and eating fresh produce from one’s own garden; it is a true delight and one of life’s most indulgent pleasures.


2 large eggplants
3 tomatoes
small bunch of parsley, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, pressed or very finely diced
1 tbsp. (15 ml.) dried Greek oregano
Fetta Cheese (Optional)
Greek extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste


1. Slice the eggplant into discs along its length - not too thin and not too thick.
2. Fill a large mixing bowl or pot with salted water, place the eggplant discs into the salt bath and set a plate overtop of them to weigh them down into the bowl. Leave to soak well, say 20 – 30 minutes. Mix them up periodically to ensure the salty water soaks them completely. We do this to remove the bitterness from the flesh of the eggplant.
3. Chop tomatoes into small cubes or pieces and place in a bowl.
4. Add chopped parsley, pressed garlic, salt, pepper, oregano and 2 -3 tablespoons of olive oil to the chopped tomatoes and mix well then set aside.
5. Light you grill and aim for a temperature of 400 or so. When the grilling surface is ready, spray or run a wipe of some vegetable oil over it to act as lubricant.
6. Using your hands and working quickly over the grill, brush (or spray) the downward facing side of each slice of eggplant with a little olive oil before placing it in order across the grill, starting from the top left rear section and filling the entire surface in rows. Once all the eggplant discs are on the grill, give each of their upward facing sides a brushing (or spraying) with some olive oil. Grill until they have visibly softened around the edges, watch them carefully but give them a few minutes to cook through and absorb the olive oil, then give them another brushing of olive oil and turn them over. Grill for another few minutes and then give them a final brushing of olive oil; leave them on the grill for another minute or so and remove onto a platter or dish. They should be quite soft yet not burned, visible grill marks are also desirable but not at the expense of burning them through, so watch them carefully while they are over the heat.
7. Arrange several eggplant discs on a serving plate, spoon some of the chopped tomato mixture overtop, sprinkle with some oregano, and serve with some crusty bread.

I prefer this dish at room temperature, so I refrigerate the tomato mix and the eggplants and serve it the following day after leaving them out on the counter for an hour or so, but it can be eaten warm as well.

Note: If I am going to refrigerate it, I do not add salt to the tomato mix; I add the salt when serving as this prevents the tomatoes from seeping too much of their juice.

Kali Orexi!

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