I love summer and I am sad to see it go. The carnivore is not a fan of these hot humid days we have here in Memphis so he is glad to welcome fall and the crisp days ahead. But, like many of you, we are breaking out our grill one more time to celebrate the end of the season. Some of you may even be having a big bash to send out summer. If so, let me plead with you - don't forget your vegetarian friends. We are hungry too, and we love that char taste you can only get from a backyard bar-b-que. "But what can I grill for a vegetarian at my meat bash?" you may be asking yourself. Let me first say, you can have fake burgers and hot dogs for us too. But, if you want to really impress your guests, try this grilled eggplant.
That's right, that funny purple vegetable that you are seeing at your local farmer's market now can make a beautiful treat for your vegetarian friends. (It can also be found at any supermarket too, but all things are better fresh.) Don't be intimidated by its funny shape, its squishy feeling, or its thick skin. With this simple recipe you can make a savory dish that will satisfy and surprise your vegetarian friends who were probably expecting to just settle for side dishes, dessert, and bread. Who knows, it may even tempt some of your meat-eating pals...just not my carnivore.
Start by rinsing off your eggplant. Then slice it into thick circles. Places the slices on a baking sheet. Sprinkle them with kosher salt and let set for about five minutes. Pat with a paper towel. Next turn them over and repeat this process. This will help remove some of the excess moisture naturally in the eggplant. Then get your favorite bar-b-que sauce and brush each side of the slices generously. Finally, top with some fresh herbs. I used thyme, oregano, and basil on this day. Let this sit for about ten minutes. Prepare your grill by spraying it with a nonstick spray and heating it to a medium high heat. Place the eggplant on the fire, cooking each side about four minutes. Remove when the slices are no longer stiff and have nice grill marks on each side. Serve while warm.
I promise your vegetarian friends will not only be thrilled you remembered them, but they will devour this lovely dish. Now, remember to keep your veggies on a separate area of the grill from the meat. Also, use different utensils when you go to flip the slices. (It may seem silly to you, but it matters to us.) Grilled eggplant goes great with traditional labor day sides liked potato salad and grilled corn. Finish the day with a pretty party cake and you will have everyone wishing summer wasn't ending just yet.