I wasn’t quite sure what to call or how to categorize my grilled eggplant, mint, and pepper concoction. Is it a salad? A side dish? Main course? I could certainly eat enough of it to push into the realm of dinner main. And the name…it’s got the whole agrodolce thing going on, could I stretch and call it a caponata?
Before I go on, let me explain what’s happening here. It’s a heap of grilled eggplant that’s been tossed with sweetened vinegar, olive oil, red chili peppers, and fresh mint. It’s sweet and sour with a kick of spice and a whisper of smoke. Hearty, but light and bright at the same time. Wildly addictive. Intended as a side, but scarfable enough to become the main event.
Okay, I think I’ve got it! I’ll name it “Wildly Delicious, Totally Addictive, Spicy, Sweet & Sour Grilled Eggplant Salad” and place it firmly in the “Sides Turned Main” category of the recipe index.
Get what I’m saying? It’s good. You’ll make it, you’ll like it, you’ll eat a lot of it. Let me show you how it goes together.
Fire up the grill and grab a few eggplants, red Fresno chiles, and a bunch of fresh mint.
Toss the eggplant and peppers on the grill until the eggplant flesh is golden brown and the pepper skins are charred and blistered.
Whisk up your sweet and sour dressing in the bottom of a salad bowl: white wine vinegar, sugar, and olive oil.
Cut the eggplant into strips, peel and chop the peppers, chiffonade the mint.
Throw everything into the bowl and toss to dress. Try to get it to the table to share, but if you end up standing at the counter eating greedily from the bowl, I understand.
I’ve been there. Done that.
- 4 smallish Eggplant, cut in ¼" slices
- 3 Fresno Peppers
- 2 Tbsp. Sugar
- 1½ Tbsp. White Wine Vinegar
- 3 Tbsp. Extra Virgin Olive OIl
- ¼ c. Fresh Mint Leaves, thinly sliced
- Kosher Salt & Black Pepper
- Sprinkle both sides of the eggplant slices with salt and place between paper towels. Press gently to remove moisture.
- Light the grill.
- Grill the eggplant and peppers a couple of minutes per side until the eggplant flesh is golden brown and the peppers are charred.
- Cut the eggplant into strips. Remove the charred skin from the peppers. Cut the peppers in half, lengthwise and scrape out most of the seeds, unless you want your finished dish to be very spicy. Coarsely chop the peppers.
- Whisk together the sugar, vinegar, and olive oil in a large bowl. Season with about ½ tsp. kosher salt and a few twists of black pepper. Add the eggplant, peppers, and mint to the bowl and toss. Serve lukewarm or at room temperature.