Grilled Japanese Eggplant on plate

Master How to Grill Eggplant (Video)

Legendary botanist Luther Burbank once said that Sonoma County is the “chosen spot of all this earth” to grow fruits and vegetables. At Jordan Winery, we know exactly what he means since our northern Sonoma County garden overflows each season. Especially with eggplant. We’ve made it a goal to create recipes with this earthy, delicious member of the nightshade family, especially using the grill. This method coaxes unique flavors out of the vegetable (or fruit, if we’re being technical), charring the skin and concentrating the earthiness. But grilling eggplant isn’t super obvious. Too much oil and the slices develop a slimy texture; or if you undercook them, they turn our spongy; and overcooked, they lack character. So, we put together this video of how to grill eggplant, with tips and tricks offered along the way, to perfect the technique. Once you’ve mastered it, check out my recipes using grilled eggplant. It’s such a versatile vegetable that there are endless ways to prepare it.

How to Grill Eggplant Perfectly

Recipes with Grilled Eggplant

Crudite Centerpiece and Babagnoush dip with glass of chardonnay wine

Baba Ganoush Dip

A creamy, savory baba ganoush dip recipe with the smoky addition from roasting the eggplant over an open flame. The generous portion of tahini and roasted garlic make this grilled eggplant dip a favorite when served with our edible vegetable centerpiece.

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grilled japanese eggplant recipe with cabernet wine glass

Grilled Japanese Eggplant

While you’ll uncover hundreds of eggplant varieties, the most common type found in the U.S. is the Globe. It’s particularly suited to grilling, given the meaty texture and heft. But the thinner, smaller Japanese eggplant has its place as well. This oblong, deep purple-colored variety has more delicate skin, fewer seeds and the flesh is slightly sweeter. My grilled Japanese eggplant recipe takes the basic techniques from the video and adds a big helping of another summer delight, fresh basil, to kick up the flavor. It creates the perfect accompaniment to a roasted leg of lamb and Jordan Winery Cabernet Sauvignon.

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Grilled-Japanese-Eggplant-with-Radicchio-and-Endive-Recipe

Grilled Japanese Eggplant with Radicchio and Endive

Another simple recipe using the creamier Japanese eggplant variety. I call it a study in bitterness, incorporating spicy radicchio and boiled Belgian endive. But these dominant flavors mellow with the grilled eggplant and a generous dose of Jordan Extra Virgin Olive Oil. A flavorful, vegetarian food pairing for a medium-bodied, elegant red wine like Jordan Cabernet Sauvignon, it can be served as a side dish or main course.

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Jordan-Winery-Roasted-Patty-Pan-Squash-Salad-Fall-Salads with glass of chardonnay wine

Roasted Squash Salad with Eggplant and Freekah

A brightly unique combination of mint and basil pesto with deliciously roasted patty pan squash, grilled eggplant and the nutty ancient grain freekah make this squash salad recipe a healthy, early-fall dish. The roasted and earthy notes of the vegetables highlight the oak aging in Jordan Cabernet Sauvignon and makes an enticing Cabernet Sauvignon salad pairing.

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About the Author

Growing up in Hawaii, Todd Knoll developed a strong connection to the land and the ocean at an early age. As executive chef at Jordan Winery, he grows hundreds of heirloom vegetables, fruits and herbs, cooks hors d’oeuvres and meals for guests, makes olive oil, and tends to the estate’s honeybees and chickens. A visual artist at heart, Chef Knoll spends his free time with his son and wife, Nitsa Knoll, exploring the diverse terrain of Sonoma County with camera and pencil in hand, capturing moments in nature to inspire his next recipe.

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