"Somehow, the eggplant comes off with a distinct smoky aroma that you'll swear must have been cooked over charcoal."
Eggplants always amaze me. They're my favorite vegetable to cook with since they can be manipulated in such exciting ways. This recipe from Chow grills them until they're tender and soft, then mixes them with an astonishing number of herbs including basil, mint, scallion, and parsley. Thinly sliced red onions, which quickly marinate in some red wine vinegar, provide a nice balance. The resulting salad is acidic, fresh-tasting, but still full of depth.
Chow has its own method for grilling eggplants, but I'm quite fond of a technique I learned a few years ago from KCRW's Good Food podcast. All you'll need is a heavy iron skillet. Lay the eggplant on a hot iron skillet and turn them every five minutes or so until they're blackened and very soft.
Somehow, the eggplant comes off with a distinct smoky aroma that you'll swear must have been cooked over charcoal. I used this technique to make some great baba ghanoush before and it worked equally well.
- 2 large eggplants
- 1/4 medium red onion, thinly sliced
- 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
- 2 medium tomatoes, thinly sliced
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1/4 cup lemon juice
- 6 basil leaves, finely chopped
- 6 mint leaves, finely chopped
- 1 scallion thinly sliced
- 1 tablespoon fresh Italian parsley, finely chopped
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
- Pita bread
Heat your grill or large iron skillet over medium high heat. Place the eggplants on the grill or skillet and cook for about 6 minutes per side, or until skins are stiff and the flesh is very soft. It should take anywhere from 24 to 30 minutes. When done, set aside to cool for a few minutes.
Add the sliced onion to a medium bowl. Sprinkle with a teaspoon of the salt and pour in the vinegar. Let them marinate for at least 5 minutes, but preferably longer.
When the eggplant is cool, remove the skins and roughly chop up the pulp. Transfer to a large bowl along with the rest of the ingredients. Mix well, and then add the onions and vinegar.
Serve with some warm pita bread.