Thursday, August 7, 2014

Olive Oil Grilled or Roasted Eggplant with Tomatoes, Bell Peppers, Onion, Garlic & Basil

A simple veggie recipe that I like to make in the summertime when eggplants and tomatoes are at their peak of freshness and flavor. The veggies are tossed with olive oil, lightly seasoned and either roasted in the oven or grilled. A great side for grilled steak or lamb. 

2 large eggplants (the conventional roundish variety in the supermarket), cut into 1/2" slices
or 3-4 large Chinese or Japanese eggplants, cut into large 2" dice

1 red bell pepper, cubed
1 yellow bell pepper, cubed
1 green bell pepper, cubed
1 small red onion, halved or quartered

6 Roma/Plum tomatoes, halved
Granulated garlic 
Olive oil
1/4-1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
Balsamic vinegar (optional)

1. Place the cut veggies on a large, foil-lined baking sheet or platter and douse generously with olive oil. Season with a generous amount of granulated garlic (I prefer using granulated rather than fresh because fresh garlic may burn and taste bitter), and a bit of kosher salt and black pepper, according to your taste. Toss gently with your hands to ensure all the veggies are well-covered with the olive oil and seasonings. 

2. If roasting, preheat your oven to 400F. Spread the veggies evenly on the baking sheet and roast 15-20 minutes or until lightly browned. 

3. If grilling, prepare your grill, then grill the veggies until softened and lightly charred. Remove any of the veggies from the grill that cook faster (e.g., the tomatoes & peppers) first so they don't end up burning to a crisp. Eggplant may take longer to cook until tender. 

4. Remove all the veggies to a chopping board. When cool enough to handle, chop any of the veggies that are on the large size to bite-sized (primarily the onions & eggplants). Pour everything into a large bowl, and stir in the chopped basil and red pepper flakes. I like to season with a splash of Balsamic vinegar before serving to give the veggies a subtle sweet and sour finish. 

These are two large conventional (Italian-type) eggplants, cut into 1/2" thick slices. You can also use the longer Chinese or Japanese eggplants, cubed.  

Place the cut veggies on a foil-lined baking sheet and drizzle generously with olive oil. Season with granulated garlic, salt and pepper.  

Kosher salt, granulated garlic, black pepper, and olive oil. 

These veggies were grilled, as you can see by the grill marks.  

Let the veggies cool down enough to handle, then cut any of the larger pieces into bite-sized pieces.  

Here are the tomatoes and onions, cut into bite-sized pieces.  

Chopped fresh basil.  

Combine all the veggies together in a bowl and stir in the basil and red pepper flakes. Season with a splash of balsamic vinegar before serving (optional).  

This dish can be served warm or at room temperature. 

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