Grilled, Marinated Eggplant on Flatbread

Grilled, Marinated Eggplant on Flatbread
  • Difficulty:

    2
  • Prep Time:

    30m
  • Total Time:

    1h
  • Servings:

    4

Description

Refresh your taste buds all summer long with this Mediterranean-inspired eggplant dish. Serve it as an appetizer before the meal or as a light lunch on its own. Mediterranean cooks are partial to combinations of flatbread and fresh vegetables, from bruschetta to the tomatoes on traditional pizzas. Often those vegetables are cooked first and marinated, giving them a tang that's pleasantly refreshing on a hot day. This grilled variation draws on those age-old traditions, making an appealing appetizer or light lunch.

Ingredients

  • 2 large cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 4 Tbsp. red wine vinegar
  • 1 small, very ripe tomato
  • ½ tsp. sea salt
  • 1 tsp. freshly ground pepper, or to taste
  • 7 leaves fresh basil
  • ½ cup parsley leaves, coarsely chopped
  • ⅔ cup olive oil
  • 1 medium globe eggplant or 2-3 slender Asian eggplants
  • 5 individual rounds of pita or naan, or 1 slab of focaccia sliced in half horizontally

Directions

  1. Heat the grill to a good cooking temperature, about 400° F.
  2. Place the minced garlic on a cutting board and drag the flat of your knife across it repeatedly until it's crushed to a paste. Scrape up the paste and put it into a small mixing bowl along with the red wine vinegar.
  3. Core the tomato and chop it into small pieces, then scrape both the tomato and its juices into the bowl with the garlic and vinegar. Add the salt and pepper.
  4. Stack the basil leaves and roll them into a tight cylinder, resembling a small cigar. Slice across the cylinder to make fine shreds, traditionally called "chiffonade." Add the basil and parsley to the bowl, along with half of the olive oil, and stir. Set this marinade aside for the moment.
  5. Trim the stem from the eggplant and slice it into ¼" rounds. Brush each slice lightly with olive oil, then place them immediately on the grill (if you wait, the slices will absorb the oil). Grill for 4-5 minutes per side, or until the slices are tender and start to shrink in on themselves. Each side should have good, deep grill marks by that time.
  6. Place the slices of hot eggplant into the marinade and toss until they're well covered. Let sit for at least 30 minutes, or up to several hours (the longer they sit, the more flavorful they'll be). Stir them periodically, so each slice is exposed equally to the marinade.
  7. Brush the cut faces of the focaccia with olive oil, then pour any remaining oil into the bowl of eggplants. Place the bread on the grill, oil side down, and grill it until it's heated through and toasted to a deep golden brown. If you're using naan or pita bread, skip the oil and simply toast each round on the grill until it's hot and slightly crisp.
  8. Cut the small bread into halves and allow one per person. If you're using focaccia, cut the split loaves into an appropriate number of squares, strips or triangles. Transfer pieces of eggplant to the warmed bread and mash them slightly with a fork, then drizzle some of the marinade over top. Serve immediately because the marinade will make the bread soft if it sits for more than a few minutes. Refrigerate any leftovers.

Tips

If there's leftover marinade, you can use it as an impromptu vinaigrette or simply absorb it with a piece or two of bread.

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