Grilled Eggplant Salad with Onion and Cucumber

2 small eggplants*
2 tablespoons salad oil (approx)
1 medium european cucumber**
1 small red onion, thinly sliced
1/2 cup cider vinegar
2 tablespoons firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 tablespoon salt

* - end trimmed, cut into 3/4-inch thick slices ** - thinly sliced

1. Lightly brush eggplant slices with oil and put them on a tray.

2. On a barbecue with lid, place grill 5-6 inches over a solid bed of hot coals (you can hold your hand at grill level only 2-3 seconds). When grill is hot, rub it lightly with a paper towel dipped in salad oil.

3. Lay eggplant slices close together on grill. Cover barbecue, open drafts, and cook until slices are well browned and soft when pressed, 15-20 minutes; turn, as needed, with a wide spatula. Return slices to the tray. If slices are cooked ahead, cover and chill up to a day.

4. In a bowl, cover cucumber and onion slices with ice water . Quickly squeeze slices to bruise lightly, then cover and chill 30 minutes to 1 hour; drain. In bowl, mix cucumber, onion, vinegar, sugar, and 1/2 teaspoon salt. If made ahead, cover and chill up to 4 hours. Coarsely chop eggplant and spoon onto a rimmed platter; top with cucumber and onion mixture. Add salt to taste.

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