Pleae help with grilled eggplant !!

Discussion in 'Food & Cooking' started by maurac, Sep 26, 2011.

  1. maurac

    maurac

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    Hey everyone !

    I love grilled eggplant that I get at my local deli. I try grilling it myself, it never comes out good. I even tried salting it to get the bitterness out beforehand that hasn't worked. I have asked the chef at the deli what he does to make the grilled eggplant taste so good. He just says he brushes it with olive oil and throws it on the grill. He said it's so easy. I have been doing exactly what he told me but my grilled eggplant doesn't come out good. Is it the grill I am using. I use a baby weber portable propane gas grill. Do I need a bigger grill to get the eggplant to taste good. Please help. I have been struggling with this for months !! Thanks !!
     
  2. siduri

    siduri

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    I actually grill eggplant on a ridged cast iron "grill" that you put on the gas stove.  Comes out pretty good. 

    What is it about it that you don't like? 

    Is it too bitter?  Maybe you have old eggplants that have seeds and the skin is wrinkly - in which case, buy only eggplants that are shiny and firm.  If you find it still too bitter you can salt them but i never have. 

    Is it too burned?  is it too raw (hardish)?  Does it lack flavor?

    give us an idea what's wrong and we can help fix it.
     
  3. maurac

    maurac

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    Hi. Thank you for the response !

    I grill on a baby weber grill. The problem is it just has no flavor at all it tastes rubbery even when I blacken it a bit. I like when they eggplant is buttery and creamy. I like to have the grill taste in it but it never works for me
     
  4. phatch

    phatch Moderator Staff Member

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    Probably not hot enough. Build a hotter fire
     
  5. maurac

    maurac

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    thanks for your reply ! but I have it up to the highest heat. Do you think it's my grill. I have a baby weber. Do you think I should buy a big grill would that make the difference ?
     
  6. siduri

    siduri

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    It has nothing to do with the grill - as i say, i use a hot ridged pan!  You may be slicing them too thinly? 

    Also, i'm not an expert on barbecue grills since i don't have one, but i imagine you don;t just have to set it high, you have to let it heat up quite a bit.  Generally, it's not the "better technology" you need but the better technique.  Grilled eggplant are an old thing, done when there were no weber grills! 

    Then get some olive oil, slices of garlic, maybe a little hot pepper or black pepper or only a very tiny hint of origano or thyme (very tiny pinch) in a wide dish and put them in it after you've grilled them. 
     
  7. chrisbelgium

    chrisbelgium

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    It's indeed technique. As far as I can read it, you undercook eggplant. Very common mistake. Undercooked eggplant is simply disgusting, it's like trying to eat a spunge.

    Key word is timing, you need to cook them longer untill they get soft. Takes quite a while!

    I always panfry them, brushed with sunflower oil. It takes 10 minutes to fry them as I like them. I think about my health and weight when using oil..., it's still 100% fat, even healthy olive oil.

    I know many people in mediterranean kitchens panfry them in a one-finger-high amount of olive oil. They keep adding olive oil because eggplant "drinks" a lot of oil while frying. I also know that keeping them in a colander overnight is sometimes used, to let the oil drip out again.

    As I said, I simply panfry them, brushed with sunflower oil to this stage;

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Sep 27, 2011
  8. maurac

    maurac

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    wow they look fabulous ! thanks for your help ! I appreciate it. Do you think though a different grill would make the difference for me? Do you think I should buy a bigger gas grill, I only have a small baby weber that I cook on. Also is there any special seasonings. I usually do basil oregegeno saltt and pepper
     
  9. chefedb

    chefedb

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    When I do it  I put olive oil in a spray bottle. spray the eggplant sprinkel with s&p then put on real hot grill. I want the grill marks on the vege. I do same with almost all veges for a  grilled vege platter.  Home sometime I will marinate all my veges in a basic vinegarette using olive oil. good balsamic, and fine herbs.  (for you who do not want to mess with this use italian storebought dressing) Comes out real good either way.
     
  10. koukouvagia

    koukouvagia

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    Siduri has given great advice on both how to grill and seasonings.  No, you do not a bigger more expensive grill.  My thoughts are to do the opposite of what phatch suggested, don't go for high heat, low slow heat is better.  They need to cook gently so that they cook all the way through.  There are so many things to try before buying an expensive grill.  You may still be able to find some nice eggplants at your local farmers market although their season is coming to a close.  If not there, try a different supermarket.  Make sure your eggplants are shiny and dark purple, if they look dull they're too mature and will have too many seeds.  Or try a different type of eggplant, I find the japanese eggplants to be very nice. 

    Then fix your technique.  If you've tried salting them try not salting them.  If you've soaked them in water make sure you pat them really really dry and let them dry out further before cooking them to avoid mushiness.  If you've tried cooking them on high heat try them on low heat.  Do however give them a chance indoors on a grill pan, it does do a good job.

    I'm soooooo cooking eggplant tonight!  I will slice it thinly, dredge it in flour and fry it in olive oil then sprinkle with fleur de sel can't wait!
     
  11. chrisbelgium

    chrisbelgium

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    Maurac, kitchen gear is almost never the issue when things don't go as we like. Just try to do it with what you got. I fry mine in a simple non-stick pan... so temperature is moderate high, but I fry the slices for quite a while. I don't salt them to get the bitter stuff out, I soak the slices 15 minutes in cold water and dry them with paper kitchen towel (got that soaking method from Antonio Carluccio).

    Mostly grilled eggplant is only a "half-product" in my kitchen, meaning I use it in an other preparation. But, you can eat grilled eggplant as it comes from the grill, seasoned with garlic, pepper, salt and yes, oregano and a good sprinkle of grated parmezan cheese is so delicious.

    I used the slices from my previous post to make a "parmigiana", nothing to do with parmezan, it's originally a Sicilian dish as far as I know. Very easy and delicious no-meat dish.

    It's layers of grilled eggplant, layer of tomatosauce or passata (I use homemade sauce) and basil, layer of mozzarella and parmezan. Here is the rest of the pictures;

    [​IMG]

     [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
  12. maurac

    maurac

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    wow chris that eggplant dish looks delicious !! thank you everyone for all your help. I will be cooking eggplant tonight ! hope it comes out great ! I really appreciate it every ones input. If anyone else has any other tips I am always open to hear them ! thanks everyone !