Grilled Eggplant with Garlic-Cumin Vinaigrette, Feta, and Herbs
- 2 large eggplants, cut in uniform slices 3/4 inch thick
- about 1-2 tsp. salt, for salting eggplant (Grilled Eggplant doesn’t have to be salted if you want to skip that step. Most of the salt is wiped off, so don’t worry about it being too salty.)
- about 2 T olive oil, for brushing on eggplant
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh mint (Or use other fresh herb of your choice.)
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro (Or use other fresh herb of your choice. You could use all mint or all cilantro if that’s what you have. I also think this would taste great with a mixture of basil and oregano.)
- 1/2 cup crumbled Feta (or more)
- 1 tsp. garlic puree or finely minced garlic
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 3 T fresh lemon juice
- 2 T shallots or red onion, finely minced
- 1/2 tsp. ground cumin (or a little more if you really like cumin)
- generous pinch Aleppo Pepper (or use cayenne pepper)
- 1 tsp. Spike Seasoning (optional, but recommended; use any all-purpose seasoning if you don’t have Spike)
- 6 T extra-virgin olive oil
- Cut both ends off the eggplants and cut into slices 3/4 inches thick.
- If you’re salting the eggplant, lay it out on paper towels and sprinkle with salt. Let the eggplant sit about 20 minutes, or until you see beads of water released.
- Then turn over and sprinkle with salt and let sit about 20 minutes more on the second side. When you’ve turned the eggplant over and salted it the second time, start to preheat gas or charcoal barbecue grill to medium high. (You can only hold your hand there for 2-3 seconds at that heat.)
- While eggplant sits, put garlic, salt, lemon juice, and shallots or red onion into food processor fitted with steel blade, pulse until all ingredients are well combined, then let sit for 10 minutes. After ten minutes, put mixture in small bowl, stir in ground cumin, Aleppo or Cayenne pepper, and Spike Seasoning if using, then whisk in olive oil.
- Wash fresh herbs in a salad spinner if needed and finely chop with a large knife. Crumble Feta into a small bowl.
- After eggplant has sat for the second 20 minutes, wipe the water (and salt) away from the eggplant with dry paper towel and put it on a baking sheet. Brush eggplant with olive oil on both sides.
- Lay eggplant slices on the grill. If you want criss-cross grill marks, grill the eggplant about 3-4 minutes on the first side, then lift up the edge to see if the grill marks are dark enough. When you see good grill marks, rotate each piece of eggplant and cook about 3-4 minutes more.
- Turn eggplant over and cook 3-4 minutes more on the second side, or until it’s done to your liking.
- Arrange eggplant on a serving tray or baking sheet, drizzle with garlic-cumin vinaigrette, and sprinkle with crumbled feta and herbs.