Eggplant is very versatile and especially suited to grilling as it absorbs considerably less oil than when frying it on the stovetop. The earthy, smoky flavour adds depth to many dishes.
8 slices grilled eggplant
2 cups tomato sauce (see recipe below)
1 3/4 cup grated mozzarella cheese
1/4 cup parmesan cheese, grated
salt and pepper
4 large eggplants
2 teaspoons coarse sea salt
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
3 large garlic cloves, diced
1 medium onion, finely diced
3 cups canned Marzano tomatoes
1 teaspoon oregano
1/2 teaspoon chili pepper flakes
salt and pepper
Slice eggplants lengthwise, into 1/2 in. thick slices. Sprinkle sliced eggplant with salt and let drain for 20 minutes on paper towels to remove any bitterness. Wipe off any excess salt and liquid and brush liberally with olive oil. Sprinkle with freshly ground black pepper. Meanwhile, preheat barbecue on MEDIUM for 5 minutes. Grill for a total of 10–12 minutes, turning every 3 minutes to create Perfect Grill Marks.
Spread 1/2 cup tomato sauce on the bottom of a 9 x 9 in. square baking dish. Arrange 4 slices of eggplant evenly in pan and top with half of the grated mozzarella cheese and 1 cup of tomato sauce. Repeat with a second layer of eggplant and remaining tomato sauce. Finally, sprinkle on remaining mozzarella cheese and parmesan cheese. Press down. Place uncovered in 400°F oven and bake for 45 minutes, or if using a flameproof dish, place in preheated MEDIUM barbecue over indirect heat and cook for 30–45 minutes, until top is bubbly and golden brown.
Tomato Sauce: Heat the olive oil in a large saute pan and gently saute garlic and onion for 3 minutes, until starting to soften. Add remaining ingredients and simmer slowly for 1 hour. Adjust seasoning if necessary.
Serves 4 as a main dish with salad, or 8 as a side dish.