The essential Italian vegetable served in a fresh and tasty manner.
Eggplant is essential to the Italian soul. Melenzane (also spelled melanzane) speaks to much of Italian cooking. They grow in harsh climates, respond to loving care, and can be prepared in thousands of ways. As an antipasto, or even a main course, Italians will only grilled vegetables. This recipe is simple, but highlights the fundamental flavors and textures of eggplant.
- 1 Tbs balsamic vinegar
- 4 Tbs extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/4 tsp dried oregano (or 1 tsp fresh)
- 4 small eggplants, sliced in half lengthwise
- 1 tsp sea salt
- freshly ground, black pepper
- 1/2 pound mild provolone, sliced as if for sandwiches
- Sprinkle 1/2 tsp of the salt over the eggplant and let sit for 30 minutes.
- Whisk together the vinegar, oil, and oregano. Let it rest.
- When the 30 minutes are up, wipe all the salt off the eggplant.
- Brush on the vinegar and oil mixture. Sprinkle with ground pepper.
- Preheat a gas grill to high (if using charcoal, allow the coals to burn until they are covered with gray ash). Turn the heat down to medium after 15 minutes.
- Grill the eggplant cut-side down, until it's browned. This will be about 5 minutes.
- Flip the eggplant top each with the sliced provolone.
- Grill 3 minutes more, or until the cheese is bubbly.
Note: You can prepare these under a broiler. Cook the eggplant about 6 inches from the heat, cut-side down, for 5 minutes. Turn and broil for about 3 minutes. Add the provolone and broil about 3 minutes more.