I recently wrote about a very simple way to prepare eggplant in my post, “Fresh from the Farm Stand”. Most frequently during the summer, I grill eggplant as a side dish after marinating it in extra virgin olive oil and sea salt. (The small round Sicilian eggplants are my favorite!)
The steps are simple…First, slice the eggplant into rounds of about 1/6 to 1/4 inch thick. Then, place a layer of slices in a large baking dish and drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and a healthy sprinkle of sea salt. Repeat with additional layers until all slices are topped with both oil and salt. The purpose of the salt it to extract the liquid that causes the eggplant’s bitterness. Let the slices marinate for about one hour prior to grilling. Grill the eggplant on medium-low heat, turning the slices with tongues so that they soften and brown.
As an alternative to a side dish, incorporate this eggplant preparation into an appetizer course. Arrange several slices on a small plate alongside a dollop of ricotta cheese. Drizzle the ricotta with extra virgin olive oil and top with fresh ground pepper and finishing salt. Fresh herbs, such as basil, make for a colorful addition to this tasty starter.