Adapted from Chez Panisse Vegetables
- 1 large globe eggplant (9 to 10 oz) or about a pound of mini eggplants
- 2 shallots or 1 small red onion, finely chopped
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- balsamic or red wine vinegar (I love white balsamic)
- 1/4 cup finely chopped basil, parsley, cilantro, or more to taste
- kosher salt or a nice sea salt like Maldon and freshly ground pepper to taste
- extra-virgin olive oil to taste
- Heat a grill to high. Alternatively, place a cast iron skillet into your oven and heat oven to 500ºF.
- Place eggplant directly on the grill. (Do not oil or salt and pepper). If you are using your oven, place eggplant into heated cast iron skillet (again, without oil or seasonings). The large eggplants will take about 20 minutes on the grill and in the oven — cook 10 minutes a side. The mini eggplants will take about 10 minutes total — cook five minutes a side. The key is to be patient. If you really let the outside char, peeling will be easy. Remove from the grill and let cool completely before peeling. If the eggplant seem really watery — the larger ones tend to give off more liquid — let them drain in a colander for 10 to 15 minutes.
- Meanwhile, place the shallots and garlic in a bowl and let them macerate for at least 10 minutes in about 2 tablespoons of the vinegar. (I let them macerate the whole time the eggplant cooks.) When the eggplant is finished cooking, cooling, and being peeled, place it in a bowl and sprinkle it with salt and pepper to taste. Mash it all together with a fork.
- Add half of the macerated shallots and garlic to the eggplant mash. Add in the chopped herbs and a drizzling of olive oil. Mix and then taste. Adjust seasoning as necessary with more salt, pepper and macerated shallots. I always use all of the macerated shallots, and I never have to use more than a tablespoon of olive oil. Serve with grilled bread.
- Category: Appetizer
- Method: Grill
- Cuisine: Middle Eastern
Keywords: eggplant, grill, burnt, appetizer, za'atar