Grilled Eggplant

This grilled eggplant recipe is more of an anti recipe because it's so simple and you can add or remove ingredients as you wish! This dish is also great because it can be made ahead of time and actually gets better as it sits. It's the perfect thing to bring to a summer cookout, serve as a side during pasta night, or slip into a sandwich.

You'll need several eggplants, garlic, peppers, extra virgin olive oil, and one lemon or if you prefer apple cider vinegar.

Eggplant in Italian Cuisine

Eggplant is very important in Italian cuisine, especially during the months of May - October when it's in season. Italians use the fruit, yes it's a fruit just like olives, in savory dishes from Parmigiana to Pasta al forno to sides where you'll find it roasted. In Calabria, where they enjoying curing foods under oil 'sott'olio' this fruit is especially appreciated because it absorbs flavors via fat, like EVOO, extremely well.

What type of eggplant to use

Sicilian eggplant is the absolute best for making grilled eggplant. However, it's not always in season and can be hard to find at times. If that's the case we also recommend Italian or globe. However, any eggplant will do. Just make sure if you're using small ones to get enough so they equate to about 2 medium - large eggplants.

What type of olive oil to use

This dish uses a hefty dose of extra virgin olive oil which will consumed in a raw setting. Therefore it's important to use a very high quality oil which lend not only flavor but texture.

We recommend using the EXAU Turi for this dish.

Make this ahead

We highly recommend making this dish the day before ahead. Take it out about 45 minutes before you want to eat so the extra virgin olive oil has time to desolidify. This dish can be made up to four days ahead of time. As the eggplant sits in the olive oil and lemon mixture it will continue to marinade.

How to make grilled eggplant

Finely slice the eggplant vertically or horizontally depending on what fits best in your pan or grill. The slices should be a bit thinner than 1/4", the thinner they are the faster they brown. You can use a mandolin if you have one, otherwise just slice by hand. Next heat the grill or pan on high heat until it's hot enough to be fully nonstick.

While waiting for the pan to heat, finely slice the garlic and spicy peppers as thin as possible. Both will be used and consumed raw so the thinner the better. The garlic will lend flavor to the olive oil, creating an aromatic scent for the entire dish.

When the grill or pan is hot add the eggplant. Do not overcrowd the pan or layer because each side really needs to cook and become a light brown color. Roast until char marks are etched on each side or until everything looks nice and brown. Set the eggplant aside on a plate and continue cooking until all the pieces are done.

Now it's time to assemble. You may find this step similar to making lasagna or parmigiana. Add a thin layer of olive oil to the bottom of a pan (we recommend a glass container that has a lid that can go into the fridge). Add several slices of garlic and spicy pepper then add a single layer of the eggplant. Then add several slices of garlic and spicy pepper again. The bottom layer is always the 'tastiest'. Then drizzle with extra virgin olive oil. Finally drizzle a bit of the lemon juice or vinegar and sprinkle with salt to taste. We usually use 1-2 pinches per layer, but it depends on the size of your pan.

Repeat these steps again, add a single layer of eggplant, then several slices of garlic and spicy pepper. Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and lemon then sprinkle with salt. Continue until all the eggplant is used. And make sure to add garlic and spicy pepper to the top layer as well.

When everything is assembled store it in the fridge until ready to serve!

Can I roast the eggplant on the stove?

Absolutely. If you don't have a grill you can use a cast iron skillet to roast the eggplant. We do this regularly.

What type of dish to use

For grilled eggplant recommend using a 9x9 dish, similar to one you would use to make brownies. However, a 13x9 also works well since you can fit more eggplant in and it always more of the liquid to soak the in since it's flatter. Since we make this dish ahead of time we try to use a glass container with a lid that can easily be placed in the fridge.

You might also like...

Eggplant salad

Eggplant parmesan (Parmigiana)

Fried zucchini fritters

If you make this please leave a comment and give this recipe a rating! We love to hear from you and do respond to comments. And if you do make this recipe, don’t forget to tag us on Instagram and Facebook and use #EXAUoliveoil so we can repost!

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Explore high-quality Italian olive oil with well-balanced flavor profiles guaranteed to enhance any dish. EXAU oils are exclusively produced in Calabria, Italy with fruit grown along the Ionian coast on family-owned properties.

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