Eggplants and bell peppers are very popular vegetables in Middle Eastern and Mediterranean cuisines. They can be either fried or grilled first and then used in main dishes as well as appetizers.
The best way to grill eggplants and peppers to get the most flavor, is to grill them on open fire, either on a grill, or over a burner of a gas stove. However, as easy as it sounds (and it really is), not many people I know in the U.S. know how to do it right, let alone do it at all.
So for all of you who would like to try this grilling technique, here’s how you do it:
On the grill –
Set your grill to high heat.
Pierce the eggplants in several spots, using a sharp knife. That will allow steam to come out of the eggplant when grilling and will prevent the eggplant from exploding on the grill.
Place the eggplants on the grill, no need to wait for the grill to be hot.
When the bottom of the eggplant is nicely charred, turn it a notch, using tongs, and grill until charred. Keep turning the eggplant until all sides are well charred.
Place the eggplant up-side down in a strainer over a bowl and cut the tip slightly to let all the liquid out. Leave to cool.
Place the peppers on the grill, no need to wait for the grill to heat. When bottom side of peppers is burned, turn them a notch, and grill until burned. Repeat this step until peppers are burned on all sided, including the top. Remove from the grill, using tongs, and place in a pot covered with a lid. Leave all the peppers covered in the pot for 30 minutes. The steam created in the pot will make the skin separate from the flesh and peel off easily.
On the stove –
Turn the stove burner to medium.
Place the eggplant or pepper on the burner grate directly above the burner. When the bottom is charred, turn slightly until all sides are well charred.
Remove from the burner and continue as specified above.
Both the eggplants and peppers can be used chopped or pureed to make different salads and spreads, mostly of the Mediterranean, Balkan, Middle Eastern type. They can also be used as an ingredient in some other dish.