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Any tips on grilling/cooking a more moist eggplant without much oil?

tastyjon Oct 22, 2006 02:05 AM

I've grown to love eggplant, both the large local varieties and the skinny purple Chinese kind.

However both are like sponges. My usual way to prepare them is making slices and then grilling them. I don't mind oiling them, but to get real penetration, it seems to take volumous amounts.

Any tricks on infusing them with moisture/flavor without a half gallon of oil?


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    embee Oct 22, 2006 02:31 AM

    Put them into a collander and sprinkle generously with kosher salt. Watch the water ooze out, wipe off the salt, and press the eggplant to get out remaining water. You might even roll them in a towel. They will look terrible, but I think you'll be pleased at the result.

    1. m
      miss louella Oct 22, 2006 05:50 AM

      The moistest ever eggplant I do is roasting it whole... completely fat free and the roasting produces a lovely smoky rich thick eggplant that is almost like a puree.

      1. MMRuth Oct 22, 2006 02:37 PM

        You can also grill thin slices of eggplant w/o oil, chop and then toss it with some oil - I make some kind of Asian (Thai maybe) grilled egg plant salad.

        1 Reply
        1. re: MMRuth
          MMRuth Oct 29, 2006 12:01 PM

          I thought of you when I made this last night - very tasty - I sliced small purple eggplants about a quarter inch thick, lengthwise, grilled on my Le Creuset grill pan w/ no oil, chopped up and added thinly sliced shallots, chopped parsley and mint (orig. recipe calls for cilantro, or combo of cilantro and mint), and made a dressing with lemon juice, soy sauce, white wine vinegar and a little peanut oil - orig dressing is lime juice, fish sauce, a hot pepper. Original recipe is from Seductions of Rice - a wonderful cook book focussed on rice dishes around the world and dishes to accompany them.

        2. s
          SuzMiCo Oct 22, 2006 07:10 PM

          I sometimes steam, then marinate eggplant (after going through the steps to get rid of the bitterness). I use a very low-oil marinade, which comes out kind of acidic, but I like it that way.

          I haven't tried it, but I would imagine you could skip the steaming and just marinate and grill.

          1. n
            niki rothman Oct 22, 2006 07:30 PM

            Coincidentally, I've been struggling with the same problem, but now I think I have the answer. For eggplant parmesan I oiled foil, placed in a pan and sprayed 1/2 inch thick eggplant slices with TJ's olive oil spray, sprinkled with s & p and seasonings, chopped garlic and baked at 400. It probably took a half hour for them to soften. Then I took my sauce and cheeses and proceeded putting together the casserole. It was really, really good. We did not miss the breading what so ever. Much easier that frying the individual slices, I mean there is almost no work involved, about a million less calories, and tasted just as good.

            1. s
              stlSarah Oct 22, 2006 10:36 PM

              I oven roast cubed eggplant for a veggie chili- cube the eggplant and toss in just a little olive oil, roast at 450 for about 25 min. I used the same method on peeled eggplant to make eggplant soup and lamb and eggplant stew. All of these do not need the extra oil it seems to take to pan sear the eggplant.

              1. toodie jane Oct 23, 2006 05:18 PM

                I love grilled eggplant done on the Weber. I cheat and use Girard's Caesar dressing, lightly brushed on, and place crossway on the grill. Wait till light brown and flip with a griddle cook's kitchen spatula (not one of those bbq spatulas). I don't have a sticking problem.
                They get nice and soft inside and have good color outside. Since hubby can't abide eggplant dishes it's the only way I get it. Love to make extra and put them on sandwiches.

                m-m-m-m. grilled eggplant.

                1 Reply
                1. re: toodie jane
                  melle76 Oct 23, 2006 08:03 PM

                  i've done breaded cutlets by peeling them, slicing them thinly, dredging in fat-free italian dressing, and then dipping in bread crumbs. i then bake them for a bit (can't recall exact temps/times- maybe about 400 for 20 min.?). they're good right from the pan, or sprinkled with diced tomatoes and feta. yum.

                2. w
                  wayne keyser Oct 24, 2006 02:38 AM

                  When I do Chinese eggplant dishes, I cut bite-size and microwave, covered, until just dome through, then finish off with the sauce in the wok. No pools of grease, all the flavor I need.

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