Robyn’s Garlicky Eggplant and Zucchini

This recipe is adapted from my friend Robyn’s fabulous eggplant recipe. It renewed my hope in eggplant. I’ve added zucchini for color and flavor–and because some folks are squeamish about eggplant.Yellow squash, scallop squash, pepper halves, and portabello mushrooms are all delicious with this preparation. Try sprinkling with fajita seasoning instead of salt and pepper before grilling. Then slice the cooked veggies into strips and serve fajita style or tortillas, with pico de gallo or a black bean and corn salsa as condiments.

Globe eggplants (the fat, dark purple beauties you’re used to) are traditionally salted and rinsed to draw out the fruit’s bitterness. While many modern globe hybrids don’t require salting, it doesn’t hurt to be on the safe side, as bitter eggplant is icky. Japanese eggplants don’t require salting at all, so if you’re pressed for time, opt for the slender cousin to the Italian favorite. Look for beautiful hybrids ranging from black to pale, almost-white lavender, and use a variety of colors and shapes when you prepare this dish for a crowd.

You can also approximate this dish indoors, with your broiler pan set on the highest rack. Broilers vary significantly, so check after 30 seconds to make sure yours isn’t excessively hot.

1 medium globe eggplant or three Japanese eggplants (the skinny kind)
3 small zucchini
olive oil for brushing
coarse Kosher salt and freshly-ground black pepper
3 cloves garlic, crushed
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoons red wine vinegar
crushed red pepper
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley (leaves only)

If using globe eggplant, slice into 1/2″ disks. Salt generously and set aside for 20 minutes. Rinse and pat dry. If using Japanese eggplant, simply slice eggplant in half lengthwise.

Slice zucchini in half lengthwise. Brush vegetables with olive oil; salt and pepper.

Grill over medium coals until somewhat softened and golden (see picture of veggies grilling, top, for doneness), about 4 – 8 minutes per side, depending on heat.

Meanwhile, combine garlic, 2 tablespoons of olive oil, and red wine vinegar.

Remove vegetables to platter. Drizzle with garlic-oil-vinegar sauce. Sprinkle with fresh parsley and crushed red pepper to taste.

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