This is what I consider a perfect and easy recipe for grilled and marinated eggplants (aubergines). Sadly, unless you know me already, no one is ever going to find it. There’s millions of hits for “grilled eggplants” on Google. With a multitude of people out there who can grill eggplants this post is probably going to be “slightly” redundant.
However, the reality is that the world is full of badly grilled eggplants. Dry and bitter? chewy and soggy? undercooked and spongy? Are you among those who swear you’ll never make them again?
After lots of experiments I found an easy and reliable way to grill tender, delicious eggplant soaked in the classic Mediterranean flavors imparted by garlic, parsley and lemon. As an added bonus, this recipe is light because of the modest amount of oil and smoke-free which is especially useful if you are grilling indoor.
- 1 eggplant / aubergine
- 1 garlic clove, sliced
- juice of 1/4 lemon
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped flat leaf parsley
First of all, please make sure to use plump, fresh eggplants and test a few varieties to find the ones which are best for grilling.
As for cooking, you will obviously obtain best results with a charcoal/wood BBQ, but a stove-top cast iron grill pan is a valid alternative especially if you are short of time or it’s bad weather.
Zebra peel the eggplants and cut them crosswise into 1.5 cm (1/2 inch) thick slices. The eggplant skin is often bitter and/or tough so it’s always a good idea to remove at least part of it .
To make the marinade, place the olive oil, garlic, lemon juice and parsley in shallow bowl. Transfer the eggplants slices in a plate arranging them in one or two layers. Par-cook in the microwave for 2-3 min until the slices become slightly moist and tender. Take care to avoid overcooking as the aubergines will fall apart on the grill.
Heat up the BBQ or a cast iron griddle and grill the slices on both sides. There is no need to oil them. Cover and cook until slightly charred and soft but not falling apart, 5-10 min per side. If you use a pan, grill slices over medium heat. Please be patient, some varieties of eggplants take long to cook properly. If the heat is too high, they will burn outside and remain chewy inside. Transfer the slices in the marinade and cover again to infuse and steam.
If possible, prepare the eggplants a couple of hours in advance and serve at room temperature as the marinade greatly improves their flavor. Season with a sprinkle of salt just before serving if you like.
Serves 2-3 as a side dish.
PS. In contrast to common – but seemingly unfounded – lore abut nightshades, “eggplant is a healthy vegetable” says Helen Nichols in “27 science-based healt benefits of eggplant“.