The beginning of the eggplant harvest means tomatoes, peppers, and cucumbers are not far behind! Eggplant is a surprisingly versatile vegetable that lends itself well to stir-fries, sautéing, stewing, and grilling. This is one of my favorite ways to prepare eggplant, a simple marinade and quick grill.
If you have spring onions in your share, grill the bulbs alongside the onions and garnish with the greens. If you don’t, this dish will be fine without them. Like all eggplant recipes, this one starts with drawing out the moisture. Sprinkle the slices with salt and let them sit for about 30 minutes until you can see moisture on the surface. Rinse, and use a salad spinner to spin dry.
Eggplant is really spongy, so I use a little water in the marinade. It doesn’t compromise the flavor, but it helps the marinade go a little farther without ending up with super oily eggplant. An hour soak will work, but if you can try to let these sit overnight.
Grilled & Marinated Eggplant
2 Japanese eggplants
1/4 cup water
2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
1 tablespoon neutral tasting oil, like canola
3 tablespoons tamari (GF if necessary)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon maple syrup
pinch of crushed red pepper
2 tablespoons minced cilantro
Optional – 2 spring onions with greens
Cut eggplant into thick slices on the diagonal. Lay the slices out on a cutting board and generously sprinkle both sides with salt. Let sit 30 minutes. Transfer to a salad spinner, rinse, and then spin dry. Place the eggplant slices in a shallow dish.
Whisk together the marinade ingredients and pour over the eggplant. Marinate for 1 – 2 hours.
Preheat a grill to high. Grill the eggplant slices 2 – 3 minutes per side until grill marks appear and the inside is soft. Grill the bulbs of the onions right alongside.
Arrange the eggplant on a platter and garnish with cilantro and sliced onion tops.