Grilled Eggplant

Don't stake your whole menu on meat during barbecue season. Here's an egg-citing idea for your grill that replaces or complements non-veggie options.

Photos by Laura Petrilla

The first time I ever held a $10 bill in my hand was in 1958 when I had my confirmation. On the occasion of my receiving this sacrament in the Catholic Church, Mom gave me this incredible amount of money (half of her usual weekly food allotment) and told me to go up to the Avenue to purchase six steaks for a special celebration dinner and to use the remainder to buy a St. Joseph’s Daily Missal.

I must have been daydreaming because I came out of the butcher shop with 6 pounds of steak and just a few pennies in change—not nearly enough for the book. Poor Mom was devastated by this mix-up because she just didn’t have any more money to give me for the present, and this was more beef than we normally ate in a month. Ever since then, I’ve never had much of a taste for steak.

Childhood traumas aside, I do like the idea of throwing a big slab of something onto the barbecue, searing in the symmetrical grill marks and then enjoying it with all the usual side dishes. It’s also a great dish to add to burgers and hot dogs when you have vegetarian guests.

By the way, my grandmother came through with the $4.75 for the missal, and I still have it to this day.

Chris Fennimore is the Director of Programming at WQED and the Producer/Host for QED Cooks. Follow his blog on food and family at


  • 2 medium-sized eggplants
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 4 ounces shropshire blue cheese

Cut the stem end off of each eggplant. Trim the skin off two sides of the eggplant and cut lengthwise into 1-inch thick “steaks.” Salt the eggplant on both sides and lay in a colander. The salt will draw out the moisture in the eggplant. After an hour, rinse the slices in fresh water and then squeeze dry and blot with a paper towel. Mix the olive oil, balsamic vinegar and Worcestershire sauce with salt and pepper in a large bowl. Add the eggplant slices and mix to coat on both sides.

Place the “steaks” on a hot grill and cook for 2 minutes. Give them a one-quarter turn and cook another 2 minutes. Turn them over and cook for 2 minutes. Top each of the steaks with a piece of Shropshire blue cheese and cover the grill for 2 minutes. Serves 4.


Web exclusive...

  • 6 golden delicious apples
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg1 cup flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 cup cream (or half and half)

Heat the butter and sugar in a 10 inch cast iron skillet. Peel and core the apples and cut into slices or chunks. Add to the skillet and cook over medium heat until the apples are coated with the butter and sugar. In a food processor, pulse the flour, salt, baking powder and sugar. Add the butter and pulse a few more times. Add the cream and pulse until a thick batter forms. Drop the batter by tablespoonfuls onto the top of the apples in the skillet. Place over indirect heat on your grill and close the lid. Bake for 40 minutes until the apples are caramelized and the topping is golden brown. Serve warm with ice cream. Serves 4-6.

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