Grilled Eggplant Parmesan
The first time I tasted Eggplant Parmesan, it was a game-changer for me. It was many years ago … a friend had invited us over for dinner and we didn’t really know when she invited us that she was vegetarian and we never suspected she would serve eggplant. (We were definitely in the “eggplant hater” camp at the time.) Being polite and happy guests, we tried the dish she was serving. And then we asked what it was. When she told us it was eggplant, we were both floored. We thought we didn’t like eggplant, and here we were, eating a dish that was absolutely amazing tasting that she told us was eggplant!
That was the moment I discovered that eggplant isn’t anything like the strange vegetable I’d had imagined in my mind all this time–it was a little taste of buttery heaven. Eggplant started to appear in my cooking and I discovered it is really good for such a variety of things: from thickening soups and sauces to Eggplant Parmesan to Moussaka to sandwiches and dips and appetizers. I began to look forward to eggplant season and began to cherish the eggplant as the queen of all vegetables, with its regal purple color.
Fast forward to this year: my mother gave me a GARGANTUAN eggplant from her garden. Here’s a photo of it … it had at least a 7 inch diameter. I don’t know that this really shows you the size of this baby, but it was BIG. I wanted to hollow it out and stuff it, but I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to eat all of it then! So after much deliberation, I instead cut my prized purple beauty into large eggplant “steaks” and grilled them, topping these lovely steaks with the traditional eggplant parmesan toppings of breading (breadcrumbs), a lovely tomato-based sauce and lots of melty cheese. Oooh it was GOOD! I treasured every bite and wished I had more. The grill gave it a marvelous smoky taste, and it was so much healthier than the “fried” version you see in most Eggplant Parmesan recipes.
- 1 large eggplant, sliced into 1/2 inch slices
- Marinara sauce (or your favorite pasta sauce--here's my crockpot marinara recipe post)
- Cooked Italian sausage crumbles (totally optional)
- Breadcrumbs (use gluten free breadcrumbs if you have GF eaters)
- Shredded Italian blend of cheeses
- Fresh basil leaves
- Fire up your grill. If you're using a charcoal grill, once the coals are hot, pile them up on one side of the grill so you have a hot side of the grill and a "warm" side (the side where there are no coals).
- Slice the eggplant into 1/2 inch slices. Set the eggplant slices directly on the hot side of the grill, cover and let cook for a few minutes until nicely browned on that side. With a spatula or tongs, flip the eggplant to cook the other side. When both sides are lightly browned and the eggplant is starting to get tender, pull the eggplant off the grill.
- Spread each eggplant slice with a nice thick coat of marinara sauce, add a bit of crumbled Italian sausage if desired, then sprinkle with breadcrumbs. Top with shredded cheese.
- Using a spatula, slide the eggplant slices back onto the "warm" side of the grill, cover the grill and cook until the cheeses are melted, checking often. Remove the eggplant from the grill and slide onto a serving plate.
- Serve hot, sprinkling with fresh basil leaves just before serving.
RECIPE SOURCE: http://www.sumptuousspoonfuls.com/
© Copyright 2014, Sumptuous Spoonfuls. All images & content are copyright protected. Please do not use my images without prior permission. If you want to publish any of my images, please ask first. If you want to republish this recipe as your own, please re-write the recipe in your own words or link back to this post for the recipe.