Ah! Summer bounty. There’s no thrill quite like visiting the farmer’s market at the peak of the season and filling up our bags and baskets with the best that summer has to offer. But, sometimes we find ourselves at a loss for what to do with all of those delicious vegetables. Fortunately, there are a few techniques that bring new life to even the most ordinary produce. And they won’t require you to spend any extra time in the kitchen.
Similar to roasting, grilling summer vegetables caramelizes their sugars and, if you use a charcoal grill, gives them a hint of fantastically smoky flavor. The best part? It won’t heat up your kitchen on even the hottest of summer days.
Using melted butter instead of oil when grilling helps the vegetables to caramelize deeply, and imparts a wealth of deep, rich flavor. Adding a topping of delicious herbed bread crumbs with a touch of lemon perks everything up at the very end and is sure to win over even your most avid vegetable haters.
Try sprinkling these buttery herb-infused crumbs over a variety of summer vegetables like summer squash, green beans, and even kale or other late summer greens.
Grilled Eggplant & Breadcrumbs
By Lori & Paul
For the breadcrumbs:
1 small clove garlic, minced
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon lemon zest
Kosher or sea salt, to taste
2 tablespoons butter, melted
3 tablespoons flat leaf parsley, chopped
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, chopped
2 teaspoons capers, rinsed and drained
1 anchovy filet, finely chopped (optional)
½ cup dried bread crumbs
For the eggplant:
1 large globe eggplant, sliced into 1/3 inch thick rounds
¼ cup melted butter
Kosher or sea salt
Combine the garlic, lemon juice, lemon zest and a pinch of salt in a small bowl. Let sit for at least 10 minutes and up to 2 hours.
In a medium bowl, combine 2 tablespoons melted butter with the herbs, capers, anchovy and bread crumbs. Mix well, ensuring that all the bread crumbs are well coated with the butter and herb mixture. Set aside until ready to serve.
Grill the eggplant: Prepare a medium-high fire on your gas or charcoal grill. Brush both sides of the eggplant slices with butter and season with salt. Grill (covered on a gas grill; uncovered on a charcoal grill) over indirect heat until golden-brown grill marks form, 3 to 4 minutes. Turn the eggplant and grill until tender and well-marked on the second sides, 3 to 4 minutes more.
Just before serving, combine the lemon garlic mixture with the herbed bread crumb mixture. Season to taste with additional salt and/or lemon juice.
Spoon the seasoned bread crumbs atop the grilled eggplant slices or serve alongside. Can be served warm or at room temperature.
Serving variation: For a lovely summer salad, layer eggplant with thin slices of fresh Mozzarella and tomato and spoon bread crumbs on top.
breadcrumbs, eggplant, grilling, summer
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