Eggplant is probably the most beloved ingredient with Sicilian people, so much so that they consider it the queen of all vegetables. In fact, there are endless recipes from the region that feature it as a main ingredient either baked, fried, sautéed, pickled, stuffed or grilled. This grilled eggplant recipe is a Sicilian favorite.
Therefore, as the season for this amazing and extremely versatile vegetable is about to start and the weather is getting perfect for grilling outside, today I want to share with you my Sicilian grilled eggplant recipe. It is one of the most traditional dishes from the island that is also widely prepared throughout all of southern Italy.
This is a very simple preparation that takes the natural sweetness of the eggplant and enhances it with just a handful of other fresh and tasty ingredients that come directly from the earth like mint and garlic. Here, it’s usually eaten as a starter, but it could work well also as a side dish.
The Secret to Grilling Eggplant
The secret for the success of this dish, however, is to be a little patient. This is because the only way to get lusciously tender eggplants with nice charred marks on the outside is to cook them on very low heat for as long as it takes. That being said, you don’t need to worry: it won’t take you more than 20 minutes and the result will be amazing.
Just to give you an idea, let’s just say that in Sicily, whenever you have a family meal, this is that one dish that can never miss on the table, and that disappears in less than 2 minutes!
Moreover, if by any chance you have some leftovers, you can definitely put them into a sealed container and store in the fridge for a few days. In fact, even though this grilled eggplant recipe is usually served hot, it is also very tasty at room temperature and is a great addition to panini and other preparations.
Wash the eggplants under running water and remove some of the peel but not all of it. Peel off one strip and then leave a strip of peel on and then peel off a strip next to it until you go all the way around the eggplant. In this way, you will remove the natural bitterness of the vegetable without compromising the shape.
Cut the eggplants crosswise into 1-inch thick disks.
Turn on the grill and cook the slices on low heat for 10 minutes on each side, or until they are completely cooked through. They should be quite firm on the outside but very soft in the middle.
Meanwhile, prepare the dressing. Slice the garlic as thin as possible and finely chop the mint leaves. Put them into a small bowl and add extra virgin olive oil, and white wine vinegar. Whisk everything together with a fork for a few seconds. Salt and pepper, to taste.
When the eggplants are ready, transfer them on a serving platter and cover evenly with the dressing.
Giorgia was born in a small town on the Italian Riviera, half the way between Genova and the Cinque Terre, just a few miles away from where pesto was invented. She has a background in psychology and neuroscience and is now completing her training to become a licensed psychologist while working as a web writer. As most of the time happens in Italy, it was her lovely grandmother that taught her how to cook and enjoy every bite of simple and genuine food. Giorgia loves preparing meals for family and friends and her specialty are authentic Sicilian and Ligurian dishes. Other than cooking, her greatest passions are traveling and trekking. Her biggest dream is to be able to see (and taste!) as much of the word as possible.