When I was making this grilled spiced-rubbed duck breast recently, I could not let good heat go to waste after a short cook. Making use of the burning coals, I decided to assemble this simple eggplant caprese salad.
While the duck was fine, I couldn't get enough of this towering salad. The eggplant added an extra creaminess and the grilled flavors played off of the freshness of the mozzarella, tomato, and basil. A drizzle of balsamic vinegar and extra-virgin olive oil was the icing on the cake (eggplant cake?), giving a contrasting sharp tang and bite.
Eating for one, I originally assembled a lone stack but with enough ingredients left for more, I found myself quickly making a second, devouring it even faster.
About the author: Joshua Bousel brings you new, tasty condiment each Wednesday and a recipe for weekend grilling every Friday. He also writes about grilling and barbecue on his blog The Meatwave whenever he can be pulled away from his grill.
- 1 large eggplant, cut crosswise into 1/4-inch slices
- 1 large ball fresh mozzarella, cut into 1/4-inch slices
- 2 large tomatoes, cut into 1/4-inch slices
- 1/4 cup of basil chiffonade
- 1 tablespoon Kosher salt
- Extra-virgin olive oil
- Balsamic vinegar
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Type of fire: Direct
- Grill heat: high
Place eggplant slices in a colander set inside a large bowl. Toss eggplant with kosher salt and let sit for 30 minutes. Wipe eggplant dry with paper towels.
Light one chimney full of charcoal. When all the charcoal is lit and covered with gray ash, pour out and spread the coals evenly over entire surface of coal grate. Set cooking grate in place, cover gill and allow to preheat for 5 minutes. Clean and oil the grilling grate. Brush both sides eggplant slices lightly with oil. Place on the grill and cook until well browned on each side, about 4 to 5 minutes per side. Remove from grill.
Place one slice of eggplant on a plate and stack with 1 slice tomato, 1 slice mozzarella, another slice of eggplant, tomato, mozzarella, and one final slice of eggplant. Drizzle with extra-virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Season with pepper to taste and sprinkle with basil. Repeat to make 3 additional stacks and serve.