Select smaller-sized eggplants. The bigger the eggplant, the bigger the seeds, which can be bitter. Eggplants should be uniformly purple. Light brown patches on an eggplant generally mean they are starting to rot on the inside.
- 4–6 small-to-medium Italian eggplants
- 1 garlic clove, peeled and rough-chopped
- 1 lemon, zested and juiced
- A combination of any or all of the following:
- 1 tbsp chopped fresh oregano
- 1 tbsp chopped fresh mint
- 1 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
- 1 tbsp chopped fresh basil
- Small pinch red pepper flakes
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Salt and ground pepper
- Trim the stem end off the eggplants and slice lengthwise, ¼-inch thick. It’s more important to make the slices consistent with each other than to hit this exact thickness. This is so they grill evenly.
- Lay the eggplant slices on a sheet pan and salt both sides. Set aside for 10-15 minutes, then dab up the moisture with paper towels.
- While you heat your grill, use a brush to lightly coat each eggplant slice on both sides with olive oil, then salt and pepper on both sides.
- Grill the eggplant slices, turning once, until nice deep grill marks appear on the slices. Keep a close eye while you are grilling, as they can burn quickly.
- Make the herbal marinade in a small food prep mill, or by using an emersion blender or a mortar and pestle. Combine the garlic, herbs, lemon zest, lemon juice, and red pepper. Make sure all ingredients are ground and mixed together well. Then add several tbsps of olive oil and mix until a smooth, loose marinade forms. Taste and adjust the salt and pepper.
- Place the warm grilled eggplant slices in a shallow dish and coat them with the marinade, turning several times to coat.
- Leave for 1 hour at room temperature to marinate, or cover and refrigerate until ready for use, allowing the eggplant to come to room temperature before serving.