When listening to NPR yesterday on our nine-hour drive home from Maine, I learned that former IMF Chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn will be tried in France on pimping charges. Not terribly surprising given his history of sex scandals but what caught my attention was the line, “this latest news hardly registered with a nation deep into its summer vacation.” Got to love the French, it’s not yet August and they’re off!
This inspired me to make like the Europeans and take the rest of the summer “off” from blogging. I will not post for the next several weeks but I will be experimenting, writing and investigating. I figure that many of you will be traveling and racking up experiences as well, so cooking may be far from your minds. Do know that I will be back in September with some inspiring posts and a plan to grow “Musings of a Sly Rooster” into a bigger, badder vehicle. Please bear with me during this summer hiatus and even spread the word, encouraging your friends and family to subscribe. And to all of you who have been following my journey thus far, thank you from the bottom of my heart.
Onto this, my final post before mini-break, how do I transition from Strauss-Kahn to eggplants? Hmmm. Let’s just leave that one alone and focus on the grill which is where every summer meal should be prepared. Afterall, grilling keeps the kitchen cool and embraces the dog days.
Eggplant is a fantastic vegetable to cook on the grill. Its soft flesh benefits nicely from a good char and eggplant’s versatility makes it the perfect accompaniment to any meat you’re throwing on the fire. Eggplant also happens to be an excellent source of fiber and boasts a variety of vitamins and minerals. It absorbs sauce nicely and tastes delicious at room temperature so you can grill your slices, dress the plate and serve whenever you’re ready to sit down to eat.
Following are two treatments for grilled eggplant. The first being Italian and the second, Asian. They taste quite different–the Italian being tart from the vinegar and bright due to the mint, while the Asian is sweeter with the oyster sauce and fried garlic. I couldn’t choose between them so I thought I’d share both and let you be the judge. Enjoy the remainder of summer and emulate the French by tuning out the news.
- 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 4 tablespoons red wine vinegar (you can add one or two teaspoons of balsamic vinegar if your wine vinegar is too strong)
- 1 clove garlic, very finely minced
- 2 tablespoons minced fresh mint
- 1-1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 large globe eggplant, about 1-1/2 pounds
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- About 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- To prepare the marinade, put the first six ingredients in a 10" x 13" baking dish and whisk with a fork to blend. Taste and adjust the seasoning.
- Prepare a moderate charcoal fire or preheat your gas grill. Note that you can also cook the eggplant in a grill pan over moderate heat on the stove.
- Remove the eggplant stem, then cut the eggplant crosswise into 1/2-inch-thick rounds. You should have about 12 slices. Brush both sides generously with the olive oil, reserving any excess oil for grilling. Using the 1 teaspoon salt, season both sides of each slice.
- Grill the eggplant without turning until it is nicely colored on the bottom, 3 to 5 minutes, then brush the top surface with olive oil and turn. You may not need all the oil. Grill the second side until the eggplant is cooked through but still holds its shape, another 3 to 5 minutes.
- As the eggplant slices are done, transfer them to the baking dish. Turn them to coat them generously with the marinade. As necessary, overlap the eggplant in the dish, spooning marinade over each slice. Transfer the slices to a serving platter and spoon any unabsorbed marinade over them. Enjoy!
- 1 medium eggplant
- grapeseed oil
- 2 Tbls sliced garlic
- 1/4 cup oyster sauce
- 1/4 cup water
- 1 Tbls sesame oil
- 1 tsp brown sugar
- Slice the eggplant into 1/2 inch slices. Preheat your grill or grill pan. Brush surface of eggplants with some oil and grill without turning until it is nicely colored on the bottom, 3 to 5 minutes, then brush the top surface with olive oil and turn. Grill the second side until the eggplant is cooked through but still holds its shape, another 3 to 5 minutes.
- Meanwhile, heat some grapeseed oil in a small saute pan and cook sliced garlic until golden (don't leave the pan unattended because garlic can go from perfectly golden to burnt in mere seconds). Remove from the heated pan as soon as the garlic is done.
- Mix together oyster sauce, water, sesame oil, brown sugar, and two-thirds of the fried garlic. Bring mixture to a boil then simmer until sauce thickens.
- Place eggplants on a serving plate then pour sauce on top. Sprinkle remaining sautéed garlic over the top. Enjoy!