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Sunday, November 14, 2010

Epic Grilled Eggplant

I suppose now that many of you have been patiently waiting months for Sizzle Grove to post a vegetarian entree recipe, maybe we'll post a vegetarian entree recipe.

This eggplant dish is inspired by several phenomena.  It's partially inspired by eggplant parmesan, a favorite dish of mine and also a favorite of my family and my girlfriend.  The eggplant toppings are artially inspired by insalata caprese, with the heavy mix of tomatoes, mozzarella, and basil.  Then, the dish is plated with a flourish that winks at the cooking style of one of my favorite chefs, Jamie Oliver, as it is finished with a lightly dressed watercress topping akin to many of his dishes.
Note the lack of measurements: The amounts of ingredients are a bit subjective, as you'll be lightly seasoning each individual slice of eggplant.  Measuring will simply impede your speed.  Season reasonably.

One large eggplant, sliced about 1/2 cm thick
One batch smoked tomato bruschetta
Shaker of dried basil (yeah, the dried stuff sticks better)
Black pepper
Olive oil
About 1 cup grated pecorino romano
About 3 cups shredded smoked mozzarella

8 ounces or so rinsed watercress
Juice of half a lemon
1 tsp olive oil
Sprinkle of salt
Sprinkle of black pepper


1. Lightly score eggplant slices (in other words, make very shallow cuts on each side)

2. Liberally sprinkle each side with salt, pepper, and basil.

3. Lightly drizzle olive oil on each slice, and QUICKLY rub it around with your fingers.  You'll get a bit messy, but if you wait, the olive oil will quickly seep into each slice without being evenly spread.

4. Put eggplant slices of a charcoal grill, fairly close to the coals.  You'll want to cook hot, near 400 F.

5. When each slice is browned on one side (which will probably take less than ten minutes), flip each piece over and top with shredded smoked mozzarella.  Cover the grill until cheese is well melted and other side of eggplants are browned.

6. Once inside, top eggplants with tomato bruschetta, sprinkle with grated pecorino romano.

7. Plate eggplant slices with dressed watercress ontop, or put it all on a grinder roll!

Recommended with a super hoppy India pale ale, such as New England Brewery's Gandhi-Bot!

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