Thursday, September 27, 2007

Grilled Eggplant Recipe with Garlic-Cumin Vinaigrette, Feta, and Two Herbs

Grilled EggplantI think for me summer 2007 will have to be The Summer of Eggplant, since this year marks the first time I've really craved eggplant and looked forward to trying it new ways. The eggplant I used in this recipe was the last one I got from my garden, and I'm now forced to buy my eggplant from the store, but I know I'll continue cooking it. I loved this version of grilled eggplant as much as I did Spicy Grilled Eggplant with Red Pepper, Parsley, and Mint, the dish that started my eggplant infatuation. This recipe came from the September issue of Fine Cooking magazine, and the folks at Fine Cooking confirmed what I'd read in Cook's Illustrated The Best Vegetable Recipes, that salting isn't really necessary for eggplant that's going to be grilled. I'm always happy to save a step and I thought this eggplant was just fine without being salted first, but if you're partial to salting, salt away!

This is another recipe that would have been perfect for the Doubly Delicious Two Year Celebration of Weekend Herb Blogging, where we're asking people to submit one of their best recipes that features a vegetable and an herb. That part is happening October 8-14, but between now and October 7, use the link above to leave a comment predicting what you think the favorite herb and favorite vegetable will be this year, and you'll have a chance to win two of my very favorite cookbooks! Actual voting for your favorites will be the week of October 8-14 during the official anniversary week. Now, more about how to make this wonderful grilled eggplant.


Grilled Eggplant with Garlic-Cumin Vinaigrette, Feta, and Herbs

(Makes 3-4 servings, depending on size of eggplant, recipe adapted from Fine Cooking magazine, September 2007.)

Ingredients:
1 large eggplant, cut in uniform slices 3/4 inch thick
olive oil, for brushing on eggplant
2 T chopped fresh mint
2 T chopped fresh cilantro
(You could use all mint or all cilantro if that's what you have. I also think this would taste great with a mixture of basil and oregano.)
1/4 cup crumbled feta

Vinaigrette Ingredients:
1/2 tsp. garlic puree or finely minced garlic
1/4 tsp. salt
1 1/2 T fresh lemon juice
1 T shallots or red onion, finely minced
1/2 tsp. ground cumin (freshly toasted and ground cumin seeds are best, but ground cumin will work)
pinch Aleppo Pepper (or use cayenne pepper)
1/2 tsp. Spike Seasoning (optional, but highly recommended)
3 T extra-virgin olive oil

Instructions:
Preheat gas or charcoal barbecue grill to medium high. (You can only hold your hand there for 2-3 seconds at that heat.)

Put garlic, salt, lemon juice, and shallots or red onion into food processor fitted with steel blade, Pulse until all ingredients are well combined, then let sit for 10 minutes. (This could also be done in a blender.) After ten minutes, put mixture in small bowl, stir in ground cumin, Aleppo or Cayenne pepper, and Spike Seasoning if using, then whisk in olive oil.

Brush eggplant with olive oil on both sides. For criss-cross grill marks, grill 4-5 minutes on first side, then rotate and cook 3-4 minutes more. Turn and cook about 7-8 minutes more on second side. I cooked my eggplant pieces just under 15 minutes total cooking time. Actual cooking time will depend on how hot your grill is and the temperature and thickness of the eggplant. Watch it carefully the last five minutes of cooking time and rotate pieces so they are evenly browned.

To serve, arrange grilled eggplant slices on serving platter, drizzle vinaigrette over, then top with crumbled feta and herbs.

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South Beach Suggestions:
Grilled eggplant like this would be a perfect main dish or side dish for any phase of the South Beach Diet. For phase one, this would taste great with Grilled Fusion Chicken or Grilled Halibut with Garlic Cilantro Sauce. For phase two or three, add something like Brown and Wild Rice with Pine Nuts and Thyme.

So Many Delicious Ways to Cook Eggplant:
(Recipes from other blogs may or may not be South Beach Diet friendly, check ingredients.)
Spicy Grilled Eggplant with Red Pepper, Parsley, and Mint
Quick Broiled Eggplant Parmesan from Cookthink
Creamy Eggplant Spagetti from Lucullian Delights
Grilled Baby Eggplants with Korean Barbecue Sauce from Fat Free Vegan Kitchen
Stuffed Brinjal Curry from Mahanandi
Roasted Baby Eggplant with Caponata Sauce from Jaden's Steamy Kitchen
Honey Garlic Grilled Eggplant from Beyond Salmon
Eggplant-Lentil Stew with Pomegranate Molasses from Simply Recipes
Exciting Eggplant with Exciting Spicy Peanut Topping from Bonappegeek
Eggplant Lasagna from Cooking with Amy

Still More Eggplant Recipes!
I wrote Egging You on To Try Some Eggplant at Bloghercounter customizable free hit

9 comments:

cookiecrumb said...

This is my first year growing eggplant. I think we'll get a total of seven globes off one plant. Not a lot, but THANKS for the recipe and links. (I'm wild about Ilva's idea.)

Kalyn said...

CC, next year I am definitely planting more eggplant. I only got three from my one plant. It was in the back of my garden where the fence shades it part of the day and I think a sunnier spot would have been better. (The eggplant was kind of an afterthought!) Now I'm hooked so I'm just buying them at the farmer's market.

Kelly Mahoney said...

Those look so lovely. Feta must be fabulous with those herbs.

Anh said...

Kalyn, I tried your grilled eggplant recipe for a number of times already... It is really fabulous!

MyKitchenInHalfCups said...

Yes, that first eggplant of yours is fabulous!
I've been loving eggplant for years and this recipe looks lovely but will have to wait til I'm home where my aleppo pepper is!

Truffle said...

I adore feta with vegetables so I'm sure to love this! It looks absolutely beautiful Kalyn.

Anna said...

That photo is gorgeous. It makes me want to give eggplant another try, but I still can't deal with the texture.

Lillian Whitt said...

This recipe is absolutely delicious! I made it with a few modifications and was very impressed. Everybody licked their plates clean! Thanks for the great idea.

Kalyn Denny said...

Lillian, so glad you enjoyed it!

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