Grilled eggplant with charred tomato demi

By Pino Di Cerbo
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Eggplant is a blank canvas to absorb flavours; in this case, the smoky notes of the grill infuse the tender flesh to pair well with the zingy charred tomato sauce.

SERVES
4
 TO
6

Ingredients

Montreal Steak Spice

  • 3 tablespoons (45ml) dried onion flakes, ground
  • 3 tablespoons (45ml) black peppercorns, ground
  • 2 tablespoons (30ml) chilli flakes
  • 3 tablespoons (45ml) dried garlic, ground
  • 3 tablespoons (45ml) coriander seeds, ground
  • 3 tablespoons (45ml) dill seeds, ground

Eggplant

  • 2 large eggplants
  • Salt, to season
  • 1/4 cup (60ml) soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoon (10ml) tomato paste
  • 1/4 cup (60ml) balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 cup (60ml) butter
  • Oil, for grilling

Tomato Demi-Glace

  • 2 pounds (908g) tomatoes, halved
  • Olive oil, for grilling
  • Salt and black pepper, to season
  • 1 pound (454g) reserved eggplant scraps
  • 9 oz (255g) celery
  • 5 1/2 oz (150g) carrot
  • 3 1/2 oz (100g) beets
  • 2 oz (57g) shiitake mushrooms
  • 4 1/2 oz (125g) onion
  • 2 oz (57f) garlic
  • 2 teaspoons (10ml) tomato paste
  • 1 5x5-inch (12.5 x 12.5 cm) piece kombu
  • 2 1/2 quarts (2.5L) water
  • 2 tablespoons (30ml) corn starch blended with 2 tablespoons (30ml) water
  • 2 tablespoons (30ml) tamari
  • 2 tablespoons (30ml) Vietnamese mushroom powder

Serve

  • Toasted pine nuts, to garnish
  • Italian parsley, to garnish

Directions

  1. Preheat grill to high and oven to 450 F (230 C)

Montreal Steak Spice

  1. Combine onion flakes, peppercorns, chilli flakes, dried garlic, coriander, and dill seeds in a medium bowl. Mix to combine. Set aside.

Eggplant

  1. Slice eggplants into thick steaks, about one and a half inches (four centimetres) crosswise. Save any trim for the charred tomato demi-glace (see above). Season well with salt.
  2. Allow the steaks to sit and draw out moisture for one hour.
  3. In a medium-sized pot, combine soy sauce, tomato paste, balsamic vinegar, and butter.
  4. Bring the mixture to a boil and remove it from the heat. Whisk to combine and reserve for basting.

Tomato Demi-Glace

  1. In a large bowl, combine the tomatoes with a drizzle of olive oil and season with salt. Place cut-side-down on the grill and char until very dark. Set aside.
  2. Roughly chop the eggplant trim, celery, carrot, beets, dried shiitakes, and onions into very small pieces.
  3. Transfer all the chopped vegetables to a large bowl with a drizzle of olive oil and tomato paste. Toss to combine well.
  4. Add the contents of the bowl to a roasting pan. Roast for one hour, stirring every 20 minutes.
  5. Transfer the roasted veggies to a stockpot, and add the kombu and water. Bring to temperature, reduce heat and simmer for 45 minutes, until the flavours are well combined.
  6. Strain the mixture into a large saucepan and bring to a simmer. Simmer until reduced by half, roughly 35 to 40 minutes.
  7. Whisk the cornstarch slurry into the reduced liquid and return to a simmer, stirring until the mixture has thickened to coat the back of a spoon.
  8. Season the sauce with tamari, Vietnamese mushroom powder, salt, and pepper. Keep warm until needed.

Serve

  1. Pat the eggplant steaks dry. Brush them with oil and season well with the Montreal Steak Spice.
  2. Grill over high heat, basting often with the soy-vinegar mixture.
  3. Transfer the grilled eggplant to the oven. Bake until cooked through and tender, six to eight minutes.
  4. Transfer to a serving plate. Drizzle with charred tomato demi-glace.
  5. Garnish with pine nuts and parsley.
  6. Serve immediately. Enjoy!

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