Grilled Eggplant Antipasto

(3 votes)

1 medium eggplant (about 1 1/4 pounds), unpeeled
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
about 1/4 cup olive oil, for brushing
Garlic-Herb Oil (recipe below)
2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
1 tablespoon coarsely chopped basil leaves
1 tablespoon minced fresh mint leaves
freshly ground pepper
fresh mint leaves, for garnish
sliced French or Italian bread, as accompaniment
Garlic-Herb Oil
2 medium garlic cloves, finely minced
1 tablespoon coarsely chopped fresh basil
1 tablespoon minced fresh mint
6 tablespoons fine-quality olive oil
salt (optional) and freshly ground pepper

Cut eggplant into 1/8-inch slices crosswise, discarding ends. Arrange slices in 1 layer on a rack set over a tray. Sprinkle them evenly with about 3/4 teaspoon salt, turn them over, and sprinkle second side evenly with about 3/4 teaspoon salt. Let slices drain for 1 hour, turning them over after 30 minutes. Pat them dry very thoroughly with several changes of paper towels.

Brush olive oil on one side of 6 eggplant slices or enough to make a layer in broiler. Put slices oiled side down in rack of preheated broiler about 2 inches from heat source (or see Note to use grill pan). Brush the other side of the slices lightly with oil. Broil for 3 minutes on each side, lightly oiling the top after turning, or until eggplant is tender when pierced with a fork.

Transfer eggplant slices to shallow dish, such as a round 8 1/2-inch gratin dish, 1 1/2 to 2 inches deep, so that eggplant makes 3 layers. Stir in Garlic-Herb Oil. Mix chopped herbs, slices, covered, at least 4 hours or overnight, turning them over once. (The slices can be kept 2 days in refrigerator.)

Serve eggplant cool or at room temperature; garnish with mint leaves and accompany with fresh bread.

Makes 4 appetizer servings

NOTE: To grill eggplant on a ridged stovetop grill pan, lightly oil one side of the eggplant slices and put them oiled side down in one layer on the preheated pan over medium-high heat. Grill them for 3 minutes on each side, lightly oiling the top of each slice before turning it, or until it is tender.

Garlic-Herb Oil

In a small bowl, combine garlic, basil, and mint. Add oil. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Use at room temperature.

Makes about 1/2 cup; about 4 servings

From Faye Levy’s wonderful book International Vegetable Cookbook

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