Grilled eggplant is a pleasant side dish during barbecue season, when the grill is already in use. The hint of smokiness from the grill makes an already tasty vegetable just a little it better. Grilled eggplant can also be pickled or marinated by covering it with a mixture of oil, vinegar or other acidic ingredients, and various flavorings. The eggplant is usually described as marinated if it is used shortly after the vinegar mixture is added, pickled if it remains in the acidic liquid for more than a few days.
Things You'll Need
- Paring knife
- Marinade/pickling liquid:
- 3/4 cup good olive oil
- 1/4 cup red or white wine vinegar
- 1 sprig fresh oregano
- 1/2 tsp. rosemary needles, fresh
- 2 cloves garlic, crushed and minced
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Stainless steel or glass mixing bowl
- Sharp knife
- Cutting board
- Charcoal, gas or electric grill
- Olive oil or pan spray (optional)
- Jar or other storage container
Select firm, glossy eggplants without any visible soft spots, blemishes or bruising. Rinse them lightly under cold, running water and trim off the little cap of leaves at the stem end.
Pour the ingredients for the pickling liquid/marinade into a glass or stainless steel mixing bowl and whisk to combine them. Set aside.
Lay the eggplants on a cutting board and cut them lengthwise into slices about 1/2 inch thick. If the eggplants are very large, cut them into halves and then cut each half vertically into slices. If your eggplants are the slender Asian variety, cut them thickly on the diagonal to make large, oblong slices.
Grill the slices immediately for four to six minutes until the bottom is soft and it has clear grill marks. Turn the slices and grill until the other side is also soft and shows grill marks. The slices can be brushed with olive oil or sprayed with pan spray, but this is optional.
Remove the hot eggplants from the grill and immerse them immediately in the pickling liquid/marinade. If there is not enough marinade to cover the eggplants, top it up with additional olive oil.
Refrigerate for at least 12 hours before using. If the eggplants are not for immediate use, refrigerate them in an airtight jar or container for up to one month. The eggplants will continue to gain a stronger flavor as they rest in the marinade.
Tips & Warnings
- The marinade in this recipe is relatively simple and many others can be used. The standard ratio of three parts oil to one part vinegar can be used as a rule of thumb, but premium vinegar tends to be milder and a 2-to-1 ratio may be more appropriate.mWhen time is short, a commercial vinaigrette may be used to pickle the grilled eggplant. Those with Mediterranean flavors are especially well-suited to eggplant.
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