Grilled Eggplant Dressed in Olives & Orange

eggplant anchovy

This is another variation on grilled eggplant, from the good folks at Fine Cooking. The densely flavored vinaigrette can be drizzled on lamb, fish or chicken, or on oven-roasted vegetables.

For the vinaigrette:

2 anchovy fillets (preferably salt packed), rinsed
1 small clove garlic
Kosher salt
1/4 C black olives, such as Niçoise or Kalamata, rinsed well, pitted, and chopped finely
1/4 C extra-virgin olive oil
1 T fresh orange juice
2 T red-wine vinegar; more to taste
½ t finely chopped orange zest
Freshly ground black pepper

chopped mint for garnish

For the eggplant:

1 large globe eggplant (about 1 lb.), trimmed and cut into ½-inch-thick rounds
3 T extra-virgin olive oil; more as needed
Kosher salt

Make the vinaigrette:

Mash anchovy and garlic, adding a pinch of salt as needed to make a paste. Transfer the mixture to a medium bowl. Whisk in the olives, olive oil, orange juice, vinegar, and orange zest. Season to taste with salt, pepper, and more red wine vinegar, if necessary.

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.  Just before serving, whisk the vinaigrette again and spoon it over the grilled eggplant—you may not need it all—or serve on the side. Garnish with chopped mint.

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Smoky Eggplant & Bean Dip

eggplant dip

 

 

This lovely dip comes from our friends at Fine Cooking, with slight adaptations.  We are fans of anchovies, so for us, that ingredient isn’t optional. In this dip, the anchovy taste is very subtle, providing more of an umami layer, which makes the dish more compelling.  If you’re uncertain about it, on your first try of this recipe, replace the whole, mashed anchovy filets with a teaspoon of anchovy paste, which will give you less of the anchovy.

2 lb. eggplant, trimmed and cut in half lengthwise
2 anchovy fillets (optional)
1 clove garlic
1 can cannellini beans (13.5 oz), drained and rinsed
2 T fresh lemon juice; more to taste
6 T olive oil
1 T chopped fresh mint, plus 1 T small leaves for garnish
2 t chopped fresh oregano
2 T pine nuts, toasted

Position a rack 4 inches from the broiler element and heat the broiler to high. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil and grease lightly with oil. Rub the eggplant all over with 2 T of the oil. Arrange the eggplant, flesh side down, on the baking sheet and broil until the skin is charred and the eggplant flesh is very tender, 20 to 30 minutes. Meanwhile, if using anchovies, mash them into a paste with the side of a chef’s knife. Roughly chop the garlic, sprinkle it with a generous pinch of kosher salt, and mash it into a paste with the side of a chef’s knife. Transfer the anchovy and garlic pastes to a food processor and add the beans, 3-4 T of the oil, and 1 Tbs. water. Purée until smooth. When the eggplant is done, set it aside to cool briefly. Scrape the eggplant flesh from the skin and add the flesh to the puréed beans in the food processor, along with the lemon juice, chopped mint, and oregano. Pulse briefly to form a chunky dip. Adjust the seasoning with more salt, pepper, or lemon juice to taste. Serve sprinkled with the pine nuts and mint leaves, with toasted pita crisps on the side for dipping.