To salt or not to salt the eggplant? That is the question. Short on time the last time I made this, I decided to skip it and you know what, that eggplant did taste bitter. There’s a theory that the bitterness increases the older an eggplant gets, so good luck with those you buy at the supermarket and especially if it dwells in your refrigerator for awhile after that. Eggplants at the farmers market are the way to go, and it really doesn’t matter what variety you get, just slice thinly, marinate and grill for these sandwiches.
So, it comes down to the particular eggplant you’re dealing with and whether or not you have the 30 minutes to spare. I say slice and salt, and let it sit in a colander set on a plate while you prep the rest of the ingredients—think of it as insurance. When you’re ready to use it, rinse and pat dry.
This recipe was published in the May/June 2018 Eating Well magazine. When I have one of those “I want bread for dinner” nights, I make homemade Greek pita (or naan, or pita, or grissini, or foccacia…so many options, and I didn’t even mention pizza yet!) because they’re fairly quick and … homemade bread! If you can’t spare the time, there are good brands available at the grocery—I like the naan/flatbread from IndianLife and Stonefire. Wrap up a stack in foil then pop them into a 300°F oven for 10 – 15 minutes.
Recipe note: Eggplant needs to marinate for a minimum of 3 hours. I cut corners at 1 hour the last time I made it and it was not as good. Please plan ahead for best results.
Grilled Eggplant Gyros
recipe adapted from "Eggplant Gyros" Eating Well magazine May/June 2018
- 2 eggplant 1 1/2 pounds
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 2 tbsp fresh dill, chopped
- 2 tbsp lemon juice
- 2 garlic cloves, minced and mashed
- 1 tsp ground coriander
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 1 tsp Aleppo pepper or piment d'Espelette
- 1 cup shredded cucumber
- 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt, whole milk
- 1 tbsp fresh dill, chopped
- 1 garlic clove, minced and mashed
- 1/4 tsp kosher salt
- a few grinds of black pepper
- 4 naan or pita
- fresh tomato, chopped
- romaine lettuce, sliced
- red onion, finely sliced
Trim off end of eggplant and slice into 1/8" rounds. Place in colander and toss with 1 teaspoon salt. Set colander on a plate and let sit for 30 minutes. Rinse and pat dry. Transfer eggplant to a 9x13 inch baking dish.
Whisk oil, dill, lemon juice, garlic, coriander, cumin, oregano, and Aleppo or piment d'Espelette in a small bowl. Rub the marinade on the eggplant slices and refrigerate for at least 3 hours or up to 1 day.
Tzatziki: Place cucumber in a clean kitchen towel, gather it up and squeeze out as much liquid as possible. Transfer cucumber to a bowl and add the yogurt, dill, garlic, salt and pepper. Refrigerate until ready to use.
To grill eggplant: Preheat grill to medium-high and grill eggplant, turning once, until lightly charred, 3–5 minutes per side. Serve in naan or pitas with tomato, lettuce, onion, and a dollop of tzatziki.