Grilled Eggplant with Red Pepper Relish

eggplant with roasted red peppers

This recipe will convert eggplant doubters into fans. Don’t overcook the eggplant – it should be grilled until done all the way through and pulled quickly before it begins to fall apart. And if you don’t want to grill, eggplant rounds can be oven-roasted. The relish, which can be made ahead of time to speed preparation of this dish,  really underscores the flavors inherent in the eggplant – the sweetness and nuttiness – while pleasing the palate of the steak lover.  I know this one is a winner because husband Joel – never a fan of eggplant – went for seconds.  This recipe comes from Fine Cooking, with modifications from us.

For the relish:

1 T dried currants
½ T red-wine vinegar
½ T balsamic vinegar
1 clove garlic
Coarse salt
1 large roasted bell pepper, plus juice from pepper
2 T pine nuts, lightly toasted and coarsely chopped
1½ T extra-virgin olive oil
1 T chopped fresh oregano
Pinch cayenne; more to taste
3 T chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley (optional)

For the eggplant:

1 large globe eggplant (about 1 lb.), trimmed and cut into 1/2-inch-thick rounds
3 T extra-virgin olive oil; more as needed
Coarse salt

Make the relish:

Combine the currants and both vinegars in a small bowl. Mash garlic and salt into a paste. Cut roasted  pepper into very small dice and put in a medium bowl. Add 1-2 T juice from the pepper. Add the currants and vinegar, garlic paste, pine nuts, olive oil, marjoram, and cayenne and stir. Season to taste with salt and cayenne.

Grill the eggplant:

Prepare a medium-high charcoal or gas grill fire or use a grill pan, set at medium-high. Brush both sides of the eggplant slices with olive oil and season with salt. Grill until golden-brown grill marks form, 3 to 4 minutes. Turn the eggplant and grill until tender and well marked on the second sides, 3 to 4 minutes more. The interior should be grayish and soft rather than white and hard. When ready to serve, stir the relish again and spoon it over the grilled eggplant, or serve it on the side. Garnish with parsley, if using.

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