After years of cooking with eggplant, I mistakenly came across the best way to get that char with a silky smooth texture that almost melts in your mouth. It reminds me of the eggplant in my curry at my favorite Thai restaurant in DC (Beau Thai- I highly recommend it!). My guess is that I’ve tried over a dozen different ways in hopes to get that texture. I’ve added more oil, I’ve salted the eggplants beforehand, I’ve scored the eggplant, and cooked them on the grill for longer. Finally, thanks to some rain, I stumbled across the perfect method: roasting and THEN grilling the eggplant. This helps break down the fibrous eggplant without it being overly charred.
The other thing I highly recommend is using smaller eggplant. I’ve begun to only get Chinese and Japanese eggplant. They are more tender and easier to cut- just slice them in half and you’re done!
Perfectly Grilled Eggplant
Serves 8 as a small side
2 pounds Chinese or Japanese eggplant
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon minced ginger
sea salt and pepper, to taste
Preheat oven to 400. Cut eggplant in half. Toss in 1 tablespoon of olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Place on a baking sheet and roast for 20 minutes; the eggplant should look soft and slightly browned. Let cool slightly and then toss eggplant in a bowl or large plastic bag.
Combine the other tablespoon of olive oil, soy sauce, sesame oil, garlic, and ginger in a small cup or bowl. Pour marinade over eggplant and let sit for about ten minutes (or while you preheat the grill). Then grill eggplant until you have clear char marks and the eggplant is soft, about 5-7 minutes. Serve immediately!