Grilled Eggplant Salad

I can’t understand why some people don’t like eggplants. My son is one of them eggplant-haters! He has never eaten one and probably will never eat one. I just don’t understand how he can dislike something without ever even trying it. He says it’s a texture thing – he doesn’t like mushy foods. I think he’s missing out on something great but then that is his loss. I love eggplants of all shapes, sizes and colors. I buy the regular kind (available everywhere in the US), or the Japanese kind (long lighter purple and softer than the regular kind), the Italian kind (smaller in size and often a tiny bit sweeter), the Thai kind (small green ones) and of course the Indian kind (small purple ones that look like purple eggs with a green tail). I cook them in various ways too – I bake them, deep-fry them, stir fry them and of course I grill them. My all-time favorite eggplant dishes are the Middle Eastern Baba Ganoush or the Indian Bharta. In both these preparations, I char the outside skin of the eggplant by first placing it on an open flame and then baking it in the oven to cook it all the way through. The charring gives the eggplant a smoky flavor that is simply out of this world! Anyway, today I made a grilled eggplant salad. I would have loved to fry the slices of eggplant but the problem is that eggplants soak up a lot of oil in the frying process and I am trying to eat only healthy foods. So to control the fat content in the dish, I resorted to grilling them on a cast iron griddle. This experiment worked well because the grill marks on the eggplant made the salad very beautiful and also the grill charred a bit of the flesh of the eggplant and made it taste really good. I added fresh ripe tomatoes and crumbled a little bit of goat cheese on top. I also drizzled bit of pomegranate syrup on top of the salad but if you can’t find pomegranate syrup (usually available at Middle Eastern grocery stores), you can replace it with a little bit of good quality dark Balsamic Vinegar and a bit of honey added to it!

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Ingredients:

1. One large eggplant
2. 15-20 ripe grape tomatoes (I used red and yellow tomatoes)
3. 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
4. 1 teaspoon of good quality sea salt
5. ½ teaspoon of red pepper flakes (if you don’t like it spicy, skip this ingredient)
6. One red Serrano Chili (again, if you don’t like it spicy, skip this ingredient)
7. 2-3 ounces of goat cheese
8. 1.5 tablespoons of Pomegranate syrup (or Balsamic vinegar and honey mixture)

Directions:

1. Heat a cast iron griddle on medium heat.

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2. Slice the eggplant in ½ inch thick slices.

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3. With a basting brush, brush a little bit of olive oil on both sides of each slice.
4. Place the slices on the hot griddle (unless you have a huge griddle, you may have to do this in batches).

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5. After 3 to 4 minutes, flip the eggplant slices.

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6. On a second burner, heat a medium sized nonstick pan. Since the eggplant slices will not cook all the way through on the griddle, I place them off the griddle and place them on a nonstick pan to cook them for another 4-5 minutes. The griddle gives them really good grill marks but the process of cooking them completely has to be finished on a nonstick pan. You can baste them with a little bit of olive oil while they are on the nonstick pan.

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7. When all the slices of the eggplant are first grilled on a griddle and then cooked on a nonstick pan, place them on a serving platter.
8. Sprinkle some coarse salt and red pepper flakes on the cooked eggplant slices.
9. Chop the Serrano chili in small pieces (after removing the seeds and the veins) and sprinkle the finely chopped pieces over the eggplant slices.

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10. Slice all the tomatoes into two halves and place them over the eggplant slices.

11. Sprinkle the crumbled goat cheese over the whole serving platter.

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12. Drizzle the pomegranate syrup (or the Balsamic and Honey mixture) over the whole platter and serve this salad either while the eggplant is still warm or at room temperature!

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comments

  1. Permalink Submitted by Shilpa Patel on Sat, 09/03/2013 - 17:28

    ooh yumm! I love eggplant, too – though I did not as a child. But now I would say it is the queen of vegetables for me! Your salad sounds absolutely delicious. Plus your eggplant is beautiful – very few seeds!

    I have a Cuisinart Griddler and use that to grill my vegetables – I find that they do cook through if you leave them on long enough. Anything to save extra wash-up!

  2. Permalink Submitted by Shabnam on Sat, 09/03/2013 - 18:39

    Hi Shilpa – I guess I should have left the eggplant slices a little longer on the griddle to cook them through but I have a small griddle and doing the whole eggplant in so many batches would have taken forever – so I got the grill marks from the griddle and then used the nonstick to cook the eggplant through 🙂 BTW I don’t know if you know the difference between the male and female eggplant…if you look at the bottom of the eggplant (the end at the polar opposite end of the stem) you can see the navel of the eggplant – the female eggplant has a wider navel (elongated) and the male eggplant has a small navel – the male ones taste better and have fewer seeds ! If you google (images) male and female eggplant you’ll be able to see the difference. I found out about this from another blog and found this to be very useful info that helps me choose the right eggplant each time!

  3. Permalink Submitted by nettie moore on Tue, 09/07/2013 - 01:16

    Hi sweetie,

    I have a ton of eggplant and I am making this! Nettie so delicious!

    • Permalink Submitted by Shabnam on Tue, 09/07/2013 - 01:24

      Hi Netti!!!! Good to see you here 🙂 Oh yes, this eggplant salad is yum and I make it often. let me know how yours turns out – xoxo – Shabnam

  4. Permalink Submitted by Mary Jo on Sat, 09/08/2014 - 01:25

    This is beautiful Shabnam. I am going to look for eggplant at the farmer’s market yesterday too go with my heirloom tomatoes!

    • Permalink Submitted by Shabnam on Sat, 09/08/2014 - 02:24

      Hi Mary Jo – if you are a fan of eggplant, then this is a REALLY easy and good recipe to try. Today I switched up the recipe a tiny bit and added fresh basil to it (I think the original recipe that I posted didn’t have basil in it) – I think it is a good addition. Do tell me how you like it! I hope all is well with you – xoxo

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