Ask anyone in my family: I’ve been on a relentless grilled eggplant kick since they came into season. If my mother’s grilling, I pick them up straight from the grill and pop them in my mouth. And then I repeat this until there are barely any eggplant left to serve with dinner.
I think part of what I like about them is the salt: both how delicious they become when properly seasoned, and what a great texture the salt’s osmosis imparts. But besides for salting the eggplant and letting it sweat for as long as you can stand, this dinner goes from start to finish really quickly. It also makes eggplant, not normally the most beautiful veggie once cooked, into an attractive garnish. I made the frittata as a late, light dinner last week, completing the meal with toasted baguette and homegrown stringbeans tossed in honey mustard.
From my kitchen, albeit small, to yours,
Cara, THE QUARTER-LIFE COOK
1 medium eggplant, sliced
2 egg whites
1/4 cup water
1/2 teaspoon dried tarragon
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
1 tablespoon minced fresh basil
1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley
4 teaspoons olive oil
half onion, sliced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 bunch Swiss chard, washed and trimmed
Slice the eggplant into 1/3″ rounds. Arrange in one layer on paper towels or dish cloths, and sprinkle liberally with salt. Let sit for at least 15 minutes and up to 45 if you can stand it. Rinse the eggplant, then using the paper towels, press as much liquid out of the eggplant slices as you can.
Heat a grill pan over medium-high heat. Brush the eggplant slices with a teaspoon or two of olive oil, and grill, flipping once, until the eggplant has softened and has grill marks. Set aside.
Combine the eggs, egg whites, water, and fresh and dried herbs including a few grinds of pepper. Add a pinch of salt. Beat well and set aside.
Wash the chard well. Heat a pot of water to the boil. Add salt, then plunge in the Swiss chard and cook for about 6 minutes, until the leaves are quite limp. Drain well, squeeze out all the moisture with a dish towel, then coarsely chop.
When you’re ready to make the frittata, preheat the broiler. Sauté the onion in 2 teaspoons olive oil in a cast-iron (or other ovenproof) pan. Add the minced garlic and cayenne and cook until the vegetables are very soft. Toss in the chard, stir to mix, and taste for salt. Pour the eggs over the veggies, and using a spatula, pull the mixture from the edges in as it starts to firm up.
When the eggs are nearly cooked, turn off the heat and arrange the eggplant over the frittata. Broil for 8-10 minutes, until the eggs have turned light brown. Cool in the pan at least five minutes before serving.
Cut into four wedges and serve with baguette and a green vegetable.