Meatless Monday: Eggplant Spirals with Goat Cheese

Cooking food over fire is obviously desirable during the summer. It is clearly the preferred method for meat though I also do a fair amount of vegetables on the grill. Asparagus and corn are easy, as are summer squash and zucchini. Eggplant, you ask? Much easier than you think.

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The key to eggplant is the prep. First, you need thin, long slices with skin-on. Second, you need to make the veggie sweat. Salting the slices and letting them stand for 20 minutes will draw out excess water from the vegetable and keep it from getting too mushy. Third, you need to treat your grilling surface with oil to clean it and keep your eggplant from sticking. The prep is much longer than the actual cooking time, but so worth it.

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WHAT WORKED: Taking care to slice the eggplant so it’s thin enough to cook quickly but thick enough so it doesn’t burn through or fall apart.

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WHAT DIDN’T: Nothing major though I had an urge to eat the chevre while stuffing the eggplants.

EASE OF PREPARATION: Easy to medium, simply because you have to pay attention.

BEST FOR: A side dish or a main, if you are looking for something meatless.

SERVE WITH: A fork.

Eggplant Spirals with Goat Cheese
  • 1 eggplant
  • kosher salt
  • olive oil
  • 1 bunch fresh chives, chopped
  • balsamic vinegar
  • Leaves from 10 thyme sprigs
  • 1 goat cheese log at room temperature

Slice off and discard the stem base of the eggplant. Stand it up and cut 1/4-inch slices. Line up the slices on a double-layer of paper towels and sprinkle liberally with kosher salt. Let stand 20 minutes, or until water begins beading up on the surface of the slices. Rinse the slices off under cold tap water and pat dry with paper towels.

In the meantime, clean your grilling surface and preheat your grill so that all burners reach about 600 degrees.

With the eggplant slices in a single layer on a platter or other sort of plate. Brush one side with olive oil. Set the oiled side down on the grill then brush the top side with oil. Cook 2 to 3 minutes on each side, until grill marks are visible and the edges develop a nice caramel brown color. Transfer to a plate when finished.

On a clean prep surface, lay the slices out and season gently with salt and pepper. Drizzle gently with balsamic vinegar, then sprinkle chives and thyme over the top. 

**At this point, let stand for up to two hours until ready to serve, or proceed**

Add even sized glops of goat cheese to the end of each eggplant slice. Roll the slice from the cheesed side to the other end and set on a plate. Repeat until each slice is rolled. Arrange on a platter and sprinkle remaining chives over the top.

Adapted from the original by Joshua Bousel at Serious Eats

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