Wednesday, August 8, 2012


 It's August, and I live in the Garden State, so one would think finding an edible eggplant would be a no-brainer. Evidently not unless one goes to one particular farmer's market on the one day of the week that it is open. And this was not that day. So when John suggested grilled eggplant for dinner, my hopes were not high. When I ran into the market for some chicken, I walked down the vegetable aisle and there they were--a jewel-like mound of eggplants with unblemished, smooth, tight skin. Finally.

On the drive home, I was thinking of grilling some red peppers and zucchini along with the eggplant and making a grilled ratatouille of sorts. But when my friend, L, stopped by with a container of tabbouleh for me to try, my mind quickly left Provence and landed right smack in the middle of the Mediterranean.
The red peppers were cut into quarters then anointed with olive olive before hitting the hot grill. While they were cooking, I took two huge cloves of elephant garlic, my young friend (L's daughter) brought to me from her garden in the Santa Cruz Mountains of California, I placed them on a square of aluminum foil, drizzled them with olive oil, sealed the packet and placed them in a corner of the grill to roast and soften.
As I removed the peppers, I put them in a bowl, dotted them with a little olive oil, a sprinkle of salt and a squirt of lemon juice. Each of these steps was repeated with the eggplant and the zucchini.
 As the vegetables cooled a bit, I removed the garlic cloves from their package and gently squeezed them from their shells mashing their creamy mellow goodness into a paste which I then placed in the bottom of a bowl with a little bit of olive oil and some salt.
The remaining vegetables were cut into large chunks and put in the bowl with the garlic dressing, tossing well to coat. All I needed now was a little more salt, some torn mint leaves and a squirt of lemon for brightness.
This is hearty and refreshing dish that could stand on its own with the addition of a sprinkling of feta cheese, but we it ate alongside grilled chicken.

Sunset as seen from the deck