Smoky Eggplant Bruschetta

by R.B. Quinn and Min Merrell
how to grill eggplant

What is everyone doing with all this Tennessee eggplant? Do other people like it as much as we do?

We asked one of the eggplant farmers about it one day. “I’m the eggplant guru of Middle Tennessee,” Troy Smiley told us at his downtown Nashville Farmer’s Market stand. His space is loaded with big beautiful black-purple globes and other crazy varieties he’s playing around with. A few years back the guru’s artistic vision produced a surprise abundance of lavender-tinted neon eggplants. “You should have seen the field,” he said, “It looked like a Cristo landscape installation.”

I mean lots and lots of eggplant.

white eggplant

The mild eggplant is a chameleon, quick to adopt surrounding flavors. I prefer mine to look and taste like my grill. Smoky eggplant is drop-dead delicious on grilled bread/bruschetta. Spread the garlic-rubbed toast with a creamy herbed cheese spread from the deli (like Boursin), top with cut pieces of eggplant and pull it all together with a cool slice of ripe Tennessee tomato. All varieties are great grilled, but this time we used the slim Asian kind for its creamy texture and tender skin. The eggplant doesn’t have to be served hot so grill it first and set aside while you make the toast. Cut the large bruschetta into fingers to serve with drinks. Keep them whole and you’ve got a killer sandwich. Fellow Cheater Chefs, don’t cheat on the garlic (no garlic salt please.) Use a real garlic clove to rub down the toast. Sprinkle the tops with with chopped fresh herbs like basil, thyme or chives.

Cut the eggplant like fingers.  Drizzle with oil and you’re ready for grilling.

easy eggplant recipesGrilling may be the easiest and quickest way to cook eggplant. These Asian eggplant are particularly creamy and the skin isn’t too tough. There are a million things you can do with these.

how to grill eggplant

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