Eggplant Grilled with Basil & Eggplant Parmesan

by Laura FrerichsTastemaker in Residence - Your farmers, Adam, Laura, Eli, Willie + Crew

Grilled Eggplant with Basil
Eggplant is best when it’s fresh!  There are many different varieties and colors of eggplant.  You probably received a Globe eggplant (either purple or striped) and/or Japanese eggplants (the skinny lavender ones).  Cook all varieties of eggplant the same. We like to grill or roast slices of eggplant. Top with pesto and fresh tomato for an amazing sandwich.  
1-2 Globe eggplants and/or 2-3 Japanese eggplants
¼ cup olive oil                             
¼ cup chopped basil (leaves and stems are fine)
1 large clove garlic, minced                      

  1. Heat your grill to high heat.
  2. Slice Globe (tear-drop shaped) eggplants into rounds about ¼” thick. Slice the Japanese eggplants length-wise also about ¼” thick.  
  3. Combine chopped basil, minced garlic, olive oil in a small bowl or puree together in a blender. Rub or brush eggplant slices on both sides with the olive oil mixture, but do not dip the eggplant into the mixture otherwise it will absorb too much oil and become soggy.  Salt eggplant slices generously and grill for 5-10 minutes on each side or until outsides are lightly golden brown and slightly charred. Eggplant should be melt-in-your-mouth tender. If not, keep grilling!
  4. When cooked, remove from grill and eat immediately. Or spread eggplant slices with pesto and put on bread, top with fresh tomato and melted parmesan cheese (optional) for an open-faced pesto eggplant sandwich.  Yum!

Eggplant Parmesan

This recipe is how we fell in love with eggplant. You can too grow to like egpplant! You can also use a 16 oz. can of chopped tomatoes if you dont want to use up your fresh tomatoes., but you do have quite a few tomatoes to use up. J Leftovers are wonderful the next day. 
2 ½ lbs eggplant (4 small eggplant or 1-2 large), ends trimmed and cut lengthwise into quarter-inch slices
2 cloves garlic, smashed and peeled
1 cup olive oil
1-2 small, fresh hot peppers, smashed
2 lbs assorted tomatoes, chopped
1 tsp salt
¼ cup coarsely chopped parsley
¼ cup coarsely chopped basil
1 cup grated parmesan cheese
1 Tbsp. unsalted butter, chopped into bits

  1. In a large skillet or sauté pan, pour all of the oil except for 1 Tbsp. and warm over medium heat. Fry the eggplant, 1 or 2 slices at a time, until golden, 1 to 2 minutes. Drain on paper towels.
  2. In a saucepan over medium heat, warm together the remaining olive oil, the garlic and hot peppers to flavor the oil. When the garlic is pale gold, add the tomatoes and salt. Lower the heat and simmer for 10-20 minutes. Remove from heat, remove and discard garlic cloves and hot pepper. Stir in the parsley and basil.
  3. Preheat the oven to 375°.
  4. Cover the bottom of a large, shallow baking dish with a layer of tomato sauce. Add a layer of eggplant, another layer of tomato sauce and a generous sprinkling of parmesan cheese. Continue layering as so until all the ingredients are gone and sprinkle the top with parmesan. Dot the top with butter. Bake until the sides are bubbling and the cheese has melted and is slightly golden, about 30-40 minutes. Allow to rest a few minutes before serving. You can top with a few bits of chopped basil.

Recipe adapted from Contorni:Authentic Italian Side Dishes