Start to Finish: 30 minutes
Difficulty Level: Beginner
Eggplant slices grill beautifully, and they’re easy -- you don’t need to worry about them falling through the grate. Let eggplant’s natural flavor shine, or dress it up with your favorite seasonings. The creamy interior complements the light crispiness from the grill, making this vegetable a hit at any cookout.
- 2 medium eggplants, about 2 pounds total
- High smoke point oil
- Salt, pepper, seasonings to taste
Preheat the gas grill to medium high.
Wash the eggplants under cool running water while the grill heats. Slice off the ends of the eggplants. With a vegetable peeler, remove strips of the skin lengthwise, leaving strips of skin about 1/2-inch wide at intervals around the vegetable.
Peel the entire eggplant if you prefer. The skin of mature eggplants may become tough and bitter during grilling.
Slice the eggplant crosswise to make round slices about 1/2 to 3/4 inch thick. Thicker slices take longer to cook.
Brush the slices on one side with cooking oil that has a high smoke point. Sesame, sunflower, grapeseed and coconut oil are all appropriate choices.
Sprinkle the oiled slices with salt, pepper and your choice of seasonings. Dried, powdered herbs or chili peppers, curry powder, garlic or onion powder each bring a different lively flavor to eggplant.
Turn the slices and oil and season the other side.
- Place the slices on a large baking sheet to season them, then carry the sheet to the grill.
- For optimum flavor, use herbed oil or an oil-based marinade to brush the slices before cooking, and again when you turn the slices on the grill.
Arrange the slices on the grill rack. Reduce the heat to medium. Cook the eggplant for about 4 minutes per side, or until grill marks appear on the slices.
Move the slices to the upper warming rack of the grill if it has one, close the lid and turn off the burners. Allow the eggplant to finish cooking in the residual heat for 5 to 10 minutes. The eggplant is done when the slices are soft in the center.
If you don’t have room, or your grill is not equipped with a warming rack, take the hot eggplant slices off the grill and wrap them in foil. Cover the foil packet with a towel to help hold in the heat, and let the eggplant finish cooking off the grill for 5 to 10 minutes.
Serve grilled eggplant slices as an accompaniment to any meal -- eggplant picks up smokiness and contributes flavor and texture.
Create a vegetarian sandwich by stacking a grilled eggplant round, tomato slices, provolone and baby salad greens on a toasted bun. Top with a rich dressing such as honey-mustard, Thousand Island or creamy chipotle sauce.