Tuesday, June 21, 2011

First Day of Summer! Grilled Eggplant Parmigiana

It's official. It's summer. The longest day of the year. Grilling season officially opens today.

I have found a way to save you fat & calories; not to heat up the kitchen during the hot summer; and to save your stove from evil messy frying.

You can thank me later.

I LOVE eggplant parm but hate frying eggplant. It is a nasty chore. Eggplant is a sponge and loves oil. My stove is a greasy mess after I am done and I have gone thru a bottle of olive oil.

I made this over the weekend and it was the BEST! I even cooked the entire casserole on my grill! No heating up the kitchen and no breading or frying.

This was delicious and will be the only way I will ever make eggplant parm again.

Try it, your life will be changed forever (well, let's not go that far).

Stacey's Grilled Eggplant Parmesan:

(I used an 8" x 10" oval gratin dish. If you are cooking this on the grill, don't use a glass pan, use metal or porcelain).

3 medium sized Italian eggplants, NOT peeled, cut into 1/2" slices
olive oil
12 large fresh basil leaves
3-4 fresh mozzarella balls packed in water (bocconcini)
1 cup of tomato sauce (I used good quality jar sauce)
1/4 cup of FRESH breadcrumbs (made from Italian rustic ciabatta)
1/2 cup of Pecorino or Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, grated
kosher salt & pepper

Slice the eggplant and brush each slice with olive oil and season with kosher salt.
Let sit about 30 minutes before grilling, so the oil absorbs and the salt gets rid of some of the moisture.

On a medium heat oiled grill, grill the eggplant slices until they get nice grill marks on each side, about 3 minutes on each side. Remove to a platter.
You can grill the eggplant slices the day before assembling the gratin.

In a casserole dish (no Pyrex glass, or it will break on the grill), spread some olive oil on the bottom. Lay some eggplant slices, overlapping and covering the bottom of the dish.

Spoon some tomato sauce to cover the eggplant and put slices of fresh mozzarella over the sauce. Then cover the layer of mozzarella w/ fresh basil leaves.

Repeat with another layer of eggplant, sauce, cheese and basil leaves.

Finish with a 3rd layer of grilled eggplant slices and spoon the breadcrumbs and cheese mixture over the top of the casserole.

Season w/ salt & pepper and drizzle with olive oil.
Now you are ready to bake in the oven or bake on the grill!

Place your casserole dish on a sturdy heavy baking sheet or aluminum pan that can stand the heat of the grill.

I kept my grill at 375-400F degrees, or medium low heat (my grill has an outside thermometer, which is helpful), by keeping only 2 of the 3 burners on.

Place the tray on the grill and keep the lid closed. Your grill will act like an oven. It's a closed box of heat isn't it?

Sit on the patio and have some drinks while your kitchen stays nice and cool and your eggplant parm cooks in about 20-30 minutes. It will brown on the top and get nice and bubbly.

You can also bake this in the oven, of course. 375F for about 20-30 minutes.

Let rest a few minutes and slice and serve with fresh basil.



The Japanese Redneck said...

Wow! You are so smart! Cause it's sure hot here in MS without adding oven heat to the mix.

Yummy too. One of my favorites. I'll be glad when we get some rain and the eggplant in our garden perk up. We've had a few, but not enough to satisfy me.

Kathy P. said...

My mouth is watering at 10 a.m. This is my favorite dish in the world, but I hate frying eggplant too. Maybe I will try your way! Looks delicious!

Carole said...

Yum! what a great idea. I'll be trying this method soon. as I love eggplant parm.

Kathy said...

One of my favorite dishes made easy. I will have to give this a try soon.

StaceyEsq said...

I am DYING to try this!

Kim said...

Okay you are seriously smart! I think I'll be using our grill as my oven all summer. :) Thanks for this recipe. I'll definitely be making it this week!

Joanne said...

Seeing as how I (a) love eggplant and (b) have no desire to stand over a stove of hot oil, this sounds perfect!

janice15 said...

Looks simply divine..I love eggplant going to try this real soon..thank you..Janice

Jen_from_NJ said...

I just love eggplant and if I had any I would be making this right now! Fabulous idea Stacey!

Dana said...

Grilled! What a great idea! I always make mine in the oven - a Deborah Madison recipe, but it is a little lacking in the flavor department. I'm totally bookmarking this.

Anonymous said...

Great idea! Can't wait to try it, but I think I will use a disposable aluminum pan. I've used them on the grill for cooking veggies, it works well. - Ariana

Ciao Chow Linda said...

Stacey - You can be sure I'll be trying this when my eggplant comes in.I don't like frying either - and summer just makes it more onerous.
Looks nice and crunchy on top without the frying.

Tricia said...

Hi Stacey,
I've been reading and really enjoying your blog for a while now. I made this eggplant last night for the 2nd time and it was just as fantastic as the first time I tried it and I wanted you to know! I've tried some of your other recipes and they've all been hits with my family. I really appreciate your approach to food and cooking and I look forward to many more great meals.
Tricia in MA

myeagerhands said...

Thank you! It's just what I was looking for to try this weekend!