Here’s a simple eggplant preparation that can be the start to an easy meal. Serve with spaghetti tossed with olive oil and parmesan and dinner will be ready in no time. This is a great grilled dish if you have vegetarian guests, eggplant grills up nicely, and the tomatoes and mozzarella make it really filling. We’re taking a week of from basil in the CSA Shares, but if you have fresh basil, add some under the cheese or sprinkle over the top. For a lot of the season, we put a mixture of eggplant varieties in the CSA shares. Japanese eggplants, and the rounder Italian variety have a similar taste and texture. For this recipe I salted them both to draw out the moisture, and reduce any bitterness. Slice the eggplants in slabs a little thicker than 1/4 inch thick. Generously salt both sides with sea salt.
When the salt dissolves and you can see water on the surface, rinse the eggplants in cool running water. Pat them dry, or use a salad spinner to spin all of the water off. I love using the salad spinner for this, it dries the eggplant nicely.
Once the eggplant is ready, heat the grill to high. Eggplant soaks up oil, so use a brush to lightly brush each side with olive oil. The eggplant is usually salty enough for me, so I just add pepper, but you could also add some extra salt before grilling. The eggplant will just take a minute or two to grill per side.
When you flip the eggplant, top each slice with a layer of tomatoes, and then add the mozzarella. Mozzarella is really melty, so don’t cover the top. You’ll be surprised how much it melts. Close the grill for a minute or two and remove the eggplants from the grill when the cheese is melted and starting to brown.
Grilled Eggplant with Mozzarella
2 eggplants, Japanese or Italian or one of each, sliced lengthwise into 1/3 inch slabs
Fresh ground pepper
Olive oil for brushing
1 8oz mozzarella ball, sliced
1 or 2 tomatoes, sliced
Sweat the eggplants. Generously sprinkle both sides of each eggplant slab with sea salt. Let sit until salt dissolves and water appears on the surface, about 10 minutes. Rinse under cool water, and thoroughly dry using a salad spinner or kitchen towel. Brush each side of the eggplant with olive oil, and sprinkle with fresh ground pepper.
Preheat grill to high. Grill eggplant for 1 – 2 minutes, then flip. Immediately add a layer of tomatoes and then mozzarella. Close grill and grill 1- 2 minutes until cheese is melted and starting to brown. Remove from grill and serve warm.