Eggplants love the grill, and I love to grill eggplants - or aubergines as they are so elegantly referred to in other countries. Eggplants comes in many sizes and shapes, while the most common variety is the plump, pear-shaped and, well, aubergine-colored vegetable found year round in our markets.
When it comes to the barbeque the versatile, yet subtle, eggplant is the workhorse of grilled vegetables. Its mellow, buttery flavor and firm texture lends well to the barbeque, as it hold its shape during grilling and serves as a perfect vehicle for spicy, smoky, more flamboyant flavors. Eggplants can be simply prepared with olive oil, salt and pepper and served in stand-alone fashion - or tossed with a medley of Provençal-style vegetables as a grilled accompaniment to meat and fish. Cut in planks, and use as a vessel for a dollop of creamy Tsatsiki for an easy crowd-friendly appetizer - or stack grilled slices with tomato, basil and goat cheese for an impressive beginning to a dinner.
This Grilled Eggplant and Heirloom Tomato Stack is easy to prepare, delicious and fresh to eat. The smoky eggplant combines beautifully with cool garlicky goat cheese, juicy sweet tomatoes and crisp fresh basil leaves. Serve as an elegant appetizer or on a bed of arugula for a dramatic salad.
Grilled Eggplant and Heirloom Tomato Stacks with Basil and Tomato Coulis
Makes 4-5 sandwiches, depending on length of eggplant.
I large, firm eggplant, sliced horizontally 1/2" thick, 8-10 slices
Extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 large heirloom tomatoes, sliced horizontally 1/4" thick, 4-5 slices
1 cup soft, mild goat cheese
1 small garlic clove, minced
15 large basil leaves
1/4 cup finely grated Pecorino Romano cheese
3/4 cup Tomato Coulis (see below)
Preheat oven or prepare grill.
Lightly brush eggplant slices on both sides with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
Arrrange on baking tray and grill in oven, turning once, until golden brown, about 3 minutes per side.
Or grill on barbeque, turning, until golden brown and cooked through. Transfer to plate to cool.
Combine garlic and goat cheese in a small bowl. Add freshly ground black pepper and salt to taste. Arrange 1/2 of the eggplant slices on platter. Spoon 2 teaspoons goat cheese mixture over. Top with 1 large basil leaf. Place heirloom tomato slice over basil. Spread 2 teaspoons cheese mixture over tomato. Top with 1 large basil leaf. Place second eggplant slice on basil leaf. Top with one teaspoon goat cheese and basil leaf. Lightly drizzle 2-3 teaspoons Tomato Coulis over and around the eggplant stack. Garnish with one teaspoon grated Pecorino Romano cheese. Serve immediately.
Makes about 3/4 cup
3/4 lb. ripe plum tomatoes, peeled and seeded (see below), coarsely chopped
1 small garlic clove, minced
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Combine tomatoes, garlic and olive oil in bowl of food processor. Process until smooth. Add salt and pepper. Let stand at room temperature for one hour before serving. (Can be made one day in advance. Cover and refrigerate.) Serve at room temperature.
1. Take a paring knife and cut out the stem: Make shallow incisions around the stem and scoop out the stem.
2. With same knife, make a shallow X-incision in bottom of tomato.
3. Bring a saucepan of water to a rolling boil. Plunge tomato into water for 10 seconds. Remove and submerge in a bowl of ice water.
4. Remove the cooled tomato from the water. Peel away skin.
5. To seed the tomato, cut the tomato in half. Use your fingers to scoop out seeds.
Do you like Grilled Eggplant? You might also like to try these recipes:
Spicy Grilled Eggplant from Kalyn's Kitchen
Grilled Eggplant Lasagne from Andrea's Recipes
Grilled Eggplant with Caponata Salsa from Smitten Kitchen