This summer has been the summer of fresh veggies. We started going to the farmer’s market and really experimenting with all the locally grown vegetables. The tomatoes were awesome and we made our share of capresse salads! The other two vegetables that caught our eyes were the variety of squash and eggplants. We’ve always enjoyed squash in the summer but only the ones from the local grocery. I didn’t know there was such a diverse variety of them so we tries to pick samples that were new to us. Our favorite turns out to be the flying saucer squash. We cooked it every way we could imagine. We grilled it, baked it, stuffed it and made casseroles out of it. Every way was great, but to really enjoy the flavor, we found grilling to be the best.
The same thing happened with eggplant. Neither of us have much experience with eggplants. They always look neat and fun when you see them in the market. Their bright purple skin always catches my eye but we didn’t know what to do with them so we skipped them. This summer at the farmer’s market we found the deep purple ones, but also some white one and striped ones. I looked online and found some really interesting recipes and we found out we really love the eggplants! The best tip I found on line was to sweat the eggplants with salt before you use them. This gets out the excess water and leaves a creamy, sweet texture that can be a meal on its own.
To celebrate the end of summer, here is our favorite way of preparing both the squash and eggplant. I’m already looking forward to next year’s crop!
- 2 squash, cut in half lengthwise
- 1 eggplant, cut into 1/2 inch round discs
- Olive oil
- Sea salt
- Salt & Pepper, to taste
Once you’ve cut the squash and eggplant, place the eggplant on a cooking sheet and coat each side of the discs with a layer of salt. Let them sit in the salt to draw out the excess moisture. Check them periodically and drain off the water. Turn them over after about 15 minutes and re-salt them.
Once your ready, heat your grill to medium-high heat. Coat the squash and eggplant with a light layer of olive oil and a little salt and pepper. Place them on the grill and cook 3 minutes per side.
When you’re done, the outside with have a thin skin on them but the inside will be moist and tender. If you’re vegetarian, this could be a main course, but for us, it is a great side for any kind of grilled meat. They are also great placed on top of a small bed of simple pasta.