Last summer I briefly spoke about Fairytale eggplant when I made the Food in Jars’ recipe for it, pickled. However, at the time I couldn’t find Fairytale eggplant so I had to use Sicilian eggplant. Before that, I had only made melanzane sott’olio using regular large white eggplant (and I made it with a Black Beauty eggplant once as well, albeit with more salting & draining, since darker eggplants are more bitter).
It wasn’t until this year when I started to grow my own that I realized how tiny Fairytale eggplant is! They’re only a few inches long fully grown. However, there are benefits to them other than their container-friendly growth & tiny cuteness; they’re inherently less bitter, don’t need to be peeled before eating, have less seeds inside and have a creamier, sweeter flavor than their giant counterparts. Sold me!
However I still don’t like eggplant. Oh well. Womp, womp, womp.
Side note: did you know eggplant is a fruit? Yep. Actually it’s a berry.
So anyway, I needed to make an eggplant dish, and before I pickled some of ’em up in olive oil, I thought I’d try something different. This is a very simple, very brainless recipe idea. You can swap out different parts and substitute others- for example, adding mint and removing the garlic, using feta instead of ricotta, etc.
GRILLED FAIRYTALE EGGPLANT with TOMATO, GARLIC & ROSEMARY
- 1 large/average size (or 2 smaller) Fairytale eggplants
- 1 or two tomatoes (I used San Marzano that weren’t fully ripened)
- 2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh rosemary, plus some sprigs for garnish (optional)
- 1 tablespoon chopped parsley
- 1 large clove of garlic, minced
- 1/4 cup fresh ricotta cheese
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- Toast the garlic & 2 teaspoons chopped rosemary in a few tablespoons of olive oil. Once the garlic is lightly browned, turn off heat and pour into heatproof bowl. Do not let the garlic get too dark!
- Wash the eggplant and slice it lengthwise. You don’t want SUPER thin slices, but you don’t want them too thick either. Remember, we’re talking about Fairytale eggplants; they’re very small, about 5-6 inches long. If you’re using a different kind of eggplant, you’ll have to cut them down much smaller/thinner & possibly soak them & peel them first. I left the calyx on for decorative purposes, feel free to remove it.
- Meanwhile, heat up the grill or grill pan.
- When the grill is ready, brush the eggplant with a little of the garlic olive oil on both sides.
- Then place the eggplant on the grill. You’re looking for grill marks, so when one side has them, flip ’em over. As you finish grilling the eggplant, place them on a serving plate. Flash-grill the tomatoes, don’t let ’em get too soft & mushy. Place them around the eggplants.
- Top with fresh ricotta & chopped parsley. Drizzle with the remainder of the garlic olive oil and serve, garnished with rosemary if desired.
Lemme just say- HOLY COLORS, BATMAN. This is definitely what they mean when they say, “eat the rainbow.”
This is a good way to use up those giant crops of eggplant a lot of you may get stuck with. Makes a great side dish or even a vegetarian main dish! You could also use cherry tomatoes or grape tomatoes, and you wouldn’t even have to cut them. It’s basically the perfect use-up-everything-that’s-still-growing-in-the-garden dish. Throw anything in there! Peppers, tomatoes, eggplants.. whatever you’ve got.
Plus, it’s just perfect for those hazy, hot & humid early September days.