Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Grilled Eggplant Parmesan


May 1 - Grilled Eggplant Parmesan
May 2 - Dinner out at Salt's Cure with the Domestic Diva
May 3 - Dinner out at Son of a Gun with my sis and her BF

I write this post and cooked this meal from my old condo in LA, the condo that I used to share with my sis.  It was brand spanking new when we moved in with the most perfect kitchen you can imagine.  I was nervous that on this quick trip, only 3 1/2 days that I wouldn't get a chance to cook at all here.  When we decided that I would cook on Sunday night and one of my good friends would come over, I asked my sis and her BF what they wanted.  They were not too helpful at first, but then I had a mini-meltdown explaining that I have to decide on dinner ALL THE TIME, especially with no reEATS, so they had to work with me.  At least make it a conversation, right?  Eggplant Parmesan was requested, but their AC is on the fritz and the thought standing in front of hot oil and turning on the oven was beyond unappealing.  But then I remembered the gorgeous grill up on the roof deck.  Instead of frying up the Eggplant I could grill it, in effect making the whole dish more healthy.  But there was still the whole baking thing.   But why can't you bake on the grill, it's basically what you do when you cook with indirect heat.  So I decided to try it out.


I couldn't be happier with the way this turned out.  Far less oily than my standard recipe and grilling everything allowed for me to be up on the roof having a glass of wint with everyone and socializing. Throw in some pasta and a fresh salad and we had a delicious dinner! The idea of baking on the grill has opened a new world up to me for when I am back in TO, in the heat of summer when there is a moratorium on my oven.  I can't wait to experiment with it more!


Grilled Eggplant Parmesan
serves 4

3 medium sizes eggplants
2 cups of your favorite tomato sauce
extra virgin olive oil
4-5 oz fresh mozzarella, cut into thin strips
4 oz fresh grate parmigiano
seal salt & fresh cracked black pepper

1.  Wash the eggplant well.  Carefully slice into 3/8" thick slices.  Sprinkle with sea salt and lay in a single layer on a cookie sheet.  Top with a layer of paper towel and then more eggplant sprinkled with salt.  Continue to layer until all of the eggplant has been sprinkled with salt.  Let sit for about an hour. (this step is not necessary but really pulls all of the bitter juices out of the eggplant and I think makes a difference if you have the time).
2. Heat the grill over medium high heat. With a fresh paper towel blot the juice that the salt pulled out from each slice of eggplant.  Brush one side of the eggplant slices with olive oil and place oil side down on the grill, you'll likely have to do this in batches.  Close the lid and grill for 3-4 minutes.  Brush the other sides with more oil and turn.  Grill for another 3-4 minutes.  Each side should have nice grill marks.
3.  Remove grilled slices to a plate and cover with a clean kitchen towel while you continue to grill the rest of the eggplant.  When the eggplant is finished turn the two outside burners to low and the middle burner off.  You want at least one burner off and you want to get the grills temperature down to about 350-375F
4.  Place about 1/4 cup of the tomato sauce in the bottom of a lightly oiled, metal baking pan**.  Spread the sauce evenly. Add a single layer of eggplant, slightly overlapping the pieces, top with some more sauce a good handfull of parmesan and approx 6 pieces of mozzarella.  Continue to layer eggplan, sauce and cheese until all the eggplant is gone.  I try to keep extra cheese for the top layer.
5.  Place the pan in the center of the grill, over the burner you turned off.  Close the lid and cook for 30-45 minutes until the cheese is melted and golden.  Let sit for 10 minutes before serving.

** I've only testing baking on the grill in a metal baking pan, Pyrex will not work, but I am not certain about other brands.

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