Eggplant is one of my favorite vegetables to eat, but this wasn’t always the case. This vegetable is much maligned by many people (and I can understand why). When I was a kid I absolutely hated it. However, for some reason my grandmother had the distinct impression that eggplant was my favorite vegetable.
Our family visited my grandparents almost every Saturday. It was a fun time for me, a time to run free through acres of almond trees, pick and eat anything I wanted and play in the dirt in general.
However, when it came time for lunch the fun was over. As a kid I was raised to be respectful to adults, so when my grandmother informed me, “Annie, I cooked your favorite dish, eggplant!” I dutifully nodded my head in agreement. My grandfather had a garden full of Italian eggplant plants that produced from July until frost. It was a long season.
My brother knew eggplant wasn’t my favorite vegetable and hated it as well, but when the time came for seconds my plate was the one that got the extra serving. For years I tried to smile politely and not gag while chewing the detested vegetable.
However, when I was around 13 years old, when my grandmother once again made eggplant, something was different. I tasted it and found it to be absolutely delicious. My tongue was reeling in disbelief. I savored the unique taste and texture and realized that my grandmother was right! Eggplant was my favorite.
Nowadays I like to grill eggplant along with onions and zucchini and make sandwiches with fresh tomatoes and basil. The first bite takes me back to my childhood and the fond memories of my grandmother.
To make your very own grilled eggplant sandwiches, you’ll need a skillet, knife, squash, eggplant, bread, butter and onion. Slice all the vegetables thinly, I like to use a large cleaver-like knife, but eggplant can be a little difficult to slice. You may need a sharper knife to pierce the skin. When slicing onion, wear protective eye-ware and let the tears flow! Don’t wipe them away or try to stop them, they are nature’s way of cleaning out your eyes. After grilling all the vegetables, grill the bread with some butter, then layer the vegetables and place some basil and tomato on the top. Bon apetit!