Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Eggplant Steakwiches

Glorious, glorious summer is upon us, and with it all of the delicious things that grow. Since my mom produced this recipe for eggplant "steaks" from Chatelaine magazine years ago it has been my favourite summer recipe, and it makes either a great meatless main dish or (with smaller eggplant slices) a fancy side. Maybe with meat steaks!

Come to think of it, you could also serve them as a warm salad course, assuming you've got a main to follow it. 'Cause it's fancy for a salad.

All watered out.

 Start off by slicing and salting the eggplant, then letting it sit for at least ten minute. This, through science, makes water come out of it and makes it better for cooking. It's a good first step to take with eggplant generally.

Once the eggplant is ready to go you can make the marinade from your best olive oil, lemon, garlic, fresh basil, dried oregano, salt and pepper. Why fresh basil and dried oregano? Chalk it up to the whims of Chatelaine. My basil is doing a lot better than my oregano this summer so I went along with it. Fresh basil is a must, though.

Once the marinade is ready, apply it to your eggplant and let it sit for at least ten minutes. The longer it sits, the more it will soak into the eggplant, but the longer you will have to wait to eat it. If you're just waiting ten minutes this is a great time to warm up the barbecue - once it's ready you can plop the eggplants right on there.

All dressed up.

Once they're softening and looking nicely barbecued, divide the chevre, close the lid for a minute to allow it to warm and then spread it out. Be sure to lick the knife when you're done to minimize cheese waste. Then add basil leaves to all slices and tomatoes to half. If you live with a tomato shunner like I do, you can bulk up the tomato on yours.

3... and:

Now carefully flip the non-tomatoed slices onto the tomatoed ones to make a lovely looking "steak." I don't really know why they're called "steaks." They're more like sandwiches. I guess it's because they're barbecued. At any rate, steaks, sandwiches (steakwiches?), whatever - they're good.

Finally, go through an embarrassingly large number of unphotographed steps to get them from the grill and onto a plate in one piece. Or, you know, do it all at once. If you're perfect. 

Eggplant "Steaks" 

Adapted from Chatelaine Magazine

Makes three servings.

One large eggplant, cut into six slices about 1.5 (3/4") thick

One large tomato, sliced into six slices
Ten large basil leaves, plus 1.5Tbsp chopped fresh basil
2 Tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice (from about 1/2 lemon, cut lengthwise to maximize juice yield)
2 Tbsp good extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp dried oregano, crumbled into marinade or 1 tsp chopped fresh oregano
2 large cloves garlic, minced
Kosher salt and freshlly ground pepper, to taste
6oz chevre (soft goat's cheese), divided into three

Slice eggplant and salt, then allow to sit for at least ten minutes. Pat with paper towels to remove excess liquid.

While eggplant is resting, combine oil, lemon juice, chopped basil, oregano, garlic, salt and pepper. Add a little less salt than you usually would since the eggplants have been salted. Stir.

Once eggplant has been dried, coat it in the marinade and allow to sit. Turn barbecue on medium-low and allow to heat up while eggplant marinates for ten minutes.

Grill eggplant for 3-4 minutes per side, or until it begins to become soft and grill marks are visible - keep an eye on it, if it gets too soft things will get messy. Put chevre on each piece of eggplant, close the barbecue for a minute or two, and then spread the evenly across the eggplants once it's softened.

Put whole basil leaves on each eggplant slice, then tomato slices on half of them. Carefully (use a spatula) flip the slices without tomato onto the slices with tomato, then remove from the grill.

Serve warm.

6 Weight Watchers Points+ per steakwich, assuming evenly distributed marinade and 2oz chevre per serving.