This is a vegan and gluten-free side dish. It’s easy to prepare, easy to cook and easy on the eyes when served. It features Japanese eggplant, which should just now be appearing at our farmers’ markets.
What’s the difference between American globe-shaped eggplant and Japanese eggplant? The first difference you’ll pick up on is the shape. Japanese eggplant is long and slender. It has a thinner skin and a sweet, delicate flavor. It has fewer seeds, so it does not have the occasional bitter taste of American eggplant and it is perfect for grilling. Why not try this as a side dish at your next weekend BBQ!
1 pound cherry tomatoes (quartered lengthwise)
2 celery stalks (diced fine)
½ cup sweet onion (chopped fine)
5 large pitted green olives (sliced thin)
2 tablespoons fresh oregano (chopped)
1 tablespoon capers (drained)
1 clove garlic (minced)
¼ teaspoon crushed red chili pepper
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
6 fresh Japanese eggplants (do not peel – cut in half lengthwise)
Additional extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
Oregano sprigs (for garnish)
Preheat grill to medium-high heat (about 400 degrees).
Mix tomatoes, celery, onion, olives, oregano, capers, garlic, and crushed red chili pepper in a medium bowl. Whisk vinegar and olive oil in a small bowl. Pour over tomato mixture and toss to coat. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside.
Brush eggplant slices with additional oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Grill eggplant slices until slightly charred and very tender when pierced with a knife, about six to seven minutes per side. Remove from grill.
Arrange grilled eggplant on a large serving plate. Spoon tomato mixture over eggplant and garnish with oregano sprigs. Serve at room temperature.