This grilled eggplant recipe steals the spotlight for lighter summer feasts

The key to perfect grilled eggplant lies in achieving a deep sear
In frame: Grilled eggplant
In frame: Grilled eggplant

While burgers and hot dogs often dominate summer barbecues, vegetables like eggplant can become the stars of the show. This recipe by Christopher Kimball offers a smoky and flavorful alternative for your next cookout.

In frame: Grilled eggplant
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The recipe ditches whole eggplants, opting to halve them for maximum flavor. Exposing the flesh directly to the heat allows for deeper caramelization. To further enhance browning, a criss-cross pattern is scored into the flesh, creating more surface area.

The key to perfect grilled eggplant lies in achieving a deep sear. Grill the eggplant cut-side down until beautifully browned. Once flipped, brush it with garlic oil and gently press slivers of garlic into the scored flesh, letting them infuse the eggplant with a mellow flavor.

GRILLED EGGPLANT WITH SESAME AND HERBS

Start to finish: 1 hour

Servings: 6

Ingredients

2 medium eggplants (1 to 1½ pounds each), halved lengthwise

½ cup extra-virgin olive oil, divided, plus extra to serve

Kosher salt and ground black pepper

6 medium garlic cloves, finely grated

½ cup finely chopped fresh parsley

½ cup finely chopped fresh mint

6 tablespoons sesame seeds, toasted

1 tablespoon grated lemon zest, plus 2 tablespoons lemon juice

Method:

  • Prepare a charcoal or gas grill. For a charcoal grill, spread a large chimney of hot coals evenly over one side of the grill bed; open the bottom grill vents.

  • Heat the grill, covered, for 5 minutes, then clean and oil the cooking grate. For a gas grill, turn half of the burners to high and heat, covered, for 5 to 10 minutes, then clean and oil the grate.

  • Using a paring knife, carefully score the flesh of each eggplant half in a crosshatch pattern, spacing the cuts about ¾ inch apart.

  • Be careful not to cut through the skin. Use ¼ cup of the oil to brush the eggplant flesh evenly, then season with salt and pepper.

  • In a small bowl, stir together the remaining ¼ cup oil and the garlic.

  • Grill the eggplant halves cut side down on the hot side of the grill until well browned, 5 to 10 minutes.

  • Flip the halves cut side up and move to the cooler side of the grill. Brush the garlic-oil mixture onto the flesh, using the brush to push the garlic into the cuts.

  • Cover and cook until a skewer inserted at the narrow end of the largest eggplant half meets no resistance, 30 to 40 minutes.

  • In a small bowl, stir together the parsley, mint, sesame seeds, lemon zest and ½ teaspoon each salt and pepper.

  • Use a spoon to carefully separate the flesh from the skin of each half, but leaving it in place. Sprinkle each half with the herb mixture, then carefully stir it into the flesh to combine.

  • Drizzle with olive oil and the lemon juice. Serve warm or at room temperature.

In frame: Grilled eggplant
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