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
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.