Getting an eggplant in our CSA share gave me excuse to use try the cooking technique I picked up from Chef Ruth-Anne Adams during my internship with her. Jason bravely ate a bite. And then another one. And then eggplant was no longer on the forbidden veggie list. In fact, it is now welcomed in our house with open arms.
What makes this recipe so good is the honey-garlic marinade. Honey on eggplant? Let me explain. You won’t really taste the honey, but it helps the eggplant caramelize on the grill. The results are musky and succulent. I am sure that when you try this eggplant you won’t have any shortage of ideas for serving it, but here are a few to get you started:
- With garlicky-minty yogurt as an appetizer
- With goat cheese in a sandwich
- With lamb as a side dish
- With pasta or pizza as a topping
Honey Garlic Grilled Eggplant
Note: Aleppo chili that this recipe calls for is available in Middle Eastern markets. It’s not spicy at all, but sweet and musky. If you don’t have it, substitute it with a pinch of Spanish smoked paprika, or skip it all together.
1 eggplant (2 if using small Italian eggplants)
1 Tbsp honey
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 mashed garlic cloves
1 tsp aleppo chili (optional)
2 tsp balsamic vinegar
Salt and pepper
- Peel stripes of skin off the eggplant to create a zebra like pattern of skin and no-skin. This is not only decorative, but makes the skin easier to bite. Slice eggplant into ½ inch thick circles.
- Lay out a large sheet of paper towels. Sprinkle eggplant generously with salt on both sides and lay out on paper towels. The eggplant will release a lot of liquid. This will help get rid of bitterness (if any) and make the eggplant more succulent and less watery after it’s cooked. Let sit for 15 minutes, then dry both sides well with paper towels.
- In a large bowl, mix honey, olive oil, garlic, chili, balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper to taste. Dunk both sides of each eggplant slice into this marinade.
- Preheat the grill to high. Grab a wad of paper towel with tongs, dip it in oil, and brush it on the grill.
- Place the eggplant slices on the grill, cover, and turn down the heat to medium. Grill until marked, about 3 minutes. Turn 90 degrees to make cross-hatch grill marks. Grill until marked, about 3 more minutes.
- Brush the slices with remaining marinade, flip and repeat the grilling procedure on the other side. Regulate heat so that the eggplant is browning, but not burning. Remove to a plate, and drizzle with olive oil.