The key to this recipe is the thickness of the eggplant: 1/4” thick eggplant discs are perfect: crispy on both sides, with just a bit of fleshy tenderness. Eggplant cut too thick can become soggy, too thin and it dries out and burns. To preserve crispiness, serve as an appetizer, immediately after grilling.  A great dish for a BBQ, a fun, tasty appetizer, and the vegetarians in your crowd can make eggplant burgers with the slices.

INGREDIENTS

Prepare a medium-high heat grill. Coat a 12x19 inch rimmed baking sheet with olive oil just covering the bottom of the pan. Lay eggplant rounds in the pan to coat en masse, much easier than brushing each slice. Flip to coat other side, including the edges, adding oil if needed. Do this by hand, right before grilling otherwise the eggplant just soaks up the oil and sticks to the grill. Salt both sides generously. Cook eggplant 4-5 minutes per side until lightly browned. If disks look dry, brush on more oil just before flipping. When done transfer to a cooling rack and spoon 1 tsp of Zhug or Pesto onto each slice and serve; they are best right off the grill.

VARIATION--When using pesto as a topping, use straight or mix with 1 tbsp of tahini and a squeeze of lemon for a fantastic, versatile sauce. Thin with water if needed.

photo credit: erin scott.