My sister and I used to go to a little neighborhood Italian restaurant called Ciao Bella. We liked to order the antipasto because it included a wonderful grilled eggplant. Then Ciao Bella had a fire, and when they remodeled and reopened, the antipasto with grilled eggplant was no longer on the menu. I don't think I've been there since, and now my sister no longer lives in the neighborhood.
When I was planning what to bring to our Italian-menu Book Club on Saturday, I decided I would make marinated grilled eggplant. It turned out perfect, smoky and succulent, and it was so easy. Here's how to make it. The directions are very flexible. Adjust to your needs.
1 or 2 large eggplants, cut into 1/2 inch slices
A few cloves fresh garlic, crushed or chopped
Combine a couple tablespoons of olive oil and about twice that amount of balsamic vinegar, along with the crushed garlic, in a very large ziplock bag (big enough for all the eggplant). (Adjust the quantity of marinade according to how much eggplant you have.) Mush it around, then add the eggplant and seal well. Shake up the bag well so all the eggplant is coated with marinade. Marinate at least an hour, but not as long as overnight.
Grill slices on a medium hot grill until browned, with strong grill marks, and cooked through. This will probably take about five minutes per side. You might want to spray the grill with non-stick spray, although I didn't have a problem with sticking. Serve hot, room temperature, or cold.