Tuesday, August 31, 2010

guest post: SueShu

[This last guest post of the summer comes from the lovely SueShu, who can whip up dinner for twenty at the drop of a hat. Seriously. I've seen her do it. Here she suggests a delicious way to devour late-summer vegetables, and while her ever-optimistic son jshu suggested that eggplants are a turnoff to some and I should substitute "aubergine" for "eggplant" in this post, I've left SueShu's wording as is. Because if you don't like eggplants you haven't had them cooked properly, and this recipe would be the perfect place to start: On the grill!]

Grilled Eggplant With Tomatoes, Garlic & Cheese

When we returned from our family vacay in Western Maryland (during which not a single one of us had to cook a single meal), we found our garden had become a jungle. This is what happens when you don't pay attention to it for a week:

But, fortunately, there were some lovely fruits hiding in the overgrown mess:

Debaro, Cherokee Purple, and Striped German—varieties chosen mostly because I liked their names when I ordered the seeds back in March.

Also, fortunately, there were some nice little eggplants from our CSA, Colchester Farm, lurking in the fridge:

When I'd decided what to make with these, it was back to the garden to harvest some basil:

So, with these three things on hand (plus some feta or goat cheese—see below) here's what to do: Chop up the tomatoes to make a couple cups worth, add a couple tablespoons of chopped basil and/or parsley, and a couple cloves of garlic—in this case, a variety called Music, also from the CSA:

Mix it all together and let the flavors mingle while you slice the eggplants lengthwise into ½ inch slabs. (If using conventional, bigger eggplant instead of the Japanese variety, slice crosswise.)

Put the eggplant slices on a foil-covered cookie sheet (if you're lazy like me and don't want to have to wash that cookie sheet later), brush with olive oil, and sprinkle with sea salt.

Grill the eggplant for about 3 minutes per side. Put them on a warmed serving platter and cover with that foil, and let sit for about 15 minutes to soften. Remove foil and top with the tomato mixture, using a slotted spoon to leave most of the juices behind. Break up some feta or goat cheese over it all and serve—four as a main dish and six as a starter or side.

My plan was to take a picture of the dish before serving, but since we had a neighbor over for supper, I didn't remember until after we ate, so here's the "finished" version, which we had with local sweet corn:

This makes a great breakfast (cold) the next morning, although your garlic aura will remain with you through the day. But on the other hand, you won't be bothered by vampires.

From Martha Rose Shulman's column in the NYT, July 16, 2010. (She called it Eggplant on the Grill.)


  1. Gardening is fun! Have you ever met the bacon queen? Bacon fried aubergine....mmm.

  2. That sounds completely delicious!! And how do I get invited to one of those dinners for 20? I volunteer to help you eat through your fabulous garden!

  3. Oh, yummmm! I need a garden, never mind the fact that I live in a hollow. Otherwise, I will never have those beautiful little "aubergine" in my kitchen....at least not that many.

    Do loons eat eggplant?

  4. Thanks for the picture of Abe. Thanks for the memories...

    He was a g'dog.

  5. Bacon-fried aubergine *does* sound good. And last night at our favorite Burlington restaurant I saw a dish on the menu that included "bambino eggplants," which surely must be delicious/adorable, right? Which I know is how you like your food, jshu.

    I hope to god, His Momma, that eggplants are safe from loons -- is nothing sacred to those wretched birds?

    Thanks, SueShu, for the post (I love all the names of the tomatoes and that your garlic is called Music, which seems especially apropos) and for noticing the photo of Abe. He really was a g'dog.