Courtesy Angela Davis, recipe developer, The Kitchenista Diaries
Vegetarians often get short shrift at the grill, but eggplant drizzled with steak-friendly chimichurri will make even meat eaters happy. Charred and smoky, eggplant rubbed with ancho chili and paprika is a brilliant match for the bright flavors of this spicy Argentinean herb sauce. The eggplant develops a crusty exterior with meltingly tender flesh inside. This vibrant main course is good warm or at room temperature, suitable for a cookout or a busy weeknight dinner.
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- ½ cup chopped fresh parsley
- ½ cup chopped fresh cilantro
- 2 teaspoons dried oregano
- ¼ teaspoons black pepper
- 1 serrano pepper, finely diced
- 1 small shallot, minced
- Juice and zest of 1 lemon
- 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
- ¹⁄₃ cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more if needed
- Kosher salt, to taste
- 1 large eggplant, cut into ¾-inch slices
- 1½ teaspoons kosher salt
- 2 teaspoons ground ancho chili
- 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- ¼ cup grapeseed oil, plus more for grill
To make chimichurri: In bowl of food processor or mortar, combine all ingredients except olive oil and salt. Pulse (or grind with pestle) until finely minced. Scrape sides of bowl. Continue to pulse (or grind), and add just enough olive oil in thin stream to create thick but pourable dressing. Add salt, to taste. Set aside until needed.
To cook eggplant: Prepare outdoor grill for medium-high direct heat (400–450˚F), or heat a cast-iron grill pan until just shy of smoking.
Combine spices in small dish. Brush one side of eggplant slices with grapeseed oil, then season with spice mixture. Flip eggplant slices and repeat.
Brush grill grates lightly with grapeseed oil. Place eggplant on grill. Cook about 5 minutes, or until grill marks form. Flip and cook until eggplant is tender, about 5 minutes.
Transfer to serving platter. Drizzle with chimichurri. Serve warm or at room temperature. Serves 2.
Andy Myers, MS, wine director for José Andres’s ThinkFoodGroup in Washington, DC, recommends an Argentinean wine. He cites chimichurri’s history in the country, and also that the eggplant is treated like a steak. This one, from Tupungato, Argentina, “has those lovely ripe, red fruits that will add a sweet burst of flavor to the dish, but the light vegetal notes that Cab Franc are famous for will go nuts for the sauce and the roasted notes of the eggplant.”