Eggplants come in a variety of shapes and sizes and this year I planted the long and slender Japanese eggplants, so I’m going to have to slice them in half lengthwise to grill them. Caprese is usually a salad with mozzarella cheese, but here it’s going to be a dressing for the grilled eggplant slices.
For the caprese:
1 Large ripe tomato, seeded and minced
5 oz. Mozzarella cheese, cut into a 1/4-inch dice
8 Fresh basil leaves, minced
2 Tbsp. Olive oil
2 Tbsp. Fresh lemon or lime juice
Salt and pepper to taste
For the eggplants:
4 Small Japanese eggplants, sliced lengthwise (peeling optional)
2 Tbsp. Coarse sea salt
3 Tbsp. Olive oil
3 tsp. Fresh oregano, minced
1 tsp. Coarsely ground black pepper
1 tsp. Hot red chile flakes
3 cloves Garlic, minced
3 Tbsp. Italian parsley, minced
To make the caprese, combine the tomato, mozzarella, basil, olive oil and salt and pepper in a bowl and set aside in the refrigerator until needed. After the eggplant is grilled, add the lemon or lime juice and gently mix everything together.
To prepare the eggplants, sprinkle the salt over the eggplant slices and let stand for 30 minutes. Rinse the slices and dry with paper towels. In a bowl, combine the oregano, black pepper, chile flakes, garlic and parsley. Brush olive oil over both sides of the slices and sprinkle them with the mixed spices.
Grill the eggplant slices over medium heat for five to eight minutes per side, depending on their thickness, then remove from the grill and transfer to a serving plate. Allow the slices to cool to room temperature, top with the caprese dressing and serve.
Yield: 4 servings • Heat scale: Medium