It is really nice to come home from work, turn the heater on, and light the BBQ. With a bit of forethought, I had remembered to marinate some eggplant in the morning and left it to sit for the day in the fridge. Eggplant has a wonderful ability to absorb flavours, and the smokiness that cooking it on a hot plate on the BBQ makes a surprisingly divine dish.
While the BBQ is hot, cook some side dishes too – tomatoes, onions, fennel, asparagus, capsicum – there are so many vegetables that are also BBQ-friendly. And the aromas that surround you while they are cooking! Aaah, life is good.
Marinated Eggplant on the BBQ with Onions, Tomatoes and Asparagus
In the morning, cut a couple of aubergine/eggplants into largish chunks and drizzle them liberally with EVO oil. Then add the juice of a lemon, a teaspoon of cumin powder, 2 cloves of garlic, crushed, and the needles from a couple of branches of rosemary. After a good stir, put the bowl into the fridge until the evening. The aubergine works its magic and soaks up all of the marinade in that time.
Home from work, turn on the BBQ on and put the hotplate in place.
While the BBQ heats, prepare a salad or side dishes. For example, you might like to slice some onions and pop them on the hot plate with the eggplants. Or plunge asparagus into boiling water for about 2 minutes, and then dry it off. Let it sit in a tiny bit of olive oil until the BBQ is ready. You could also place cherry tomatoes into a foil pan, drizzle with some extra virgin olive oil and sprinkle with pepper and salt. A rosemary branch and a branch of curry leaves could be laid over the top.
When the BBQ is hot and the hot plate nicely heated, tip the eggplant onto the hot plate, the onions next to it and the tomatoes in a corner of the hotplate. Toss the eggplant 2 or 3 times in the 10 or 15 minutes it takes to cook. About half way through, add the asparagus to the side of the hotplate and sprinkle them liberally with lemon juice and salt. They need turning once or twice during their cooking.
When all is cooked, and the eggplant is a little charred around the edges, serve with your side dishes some crunchy bread or soft flatbreads.
The marinade is very flexible – use whatever you have at hand. Home made Chilli paste or Garlic paste would work wonders, other herbs and spices, a finely diced chilli or two.