(recipe, Andrew Schloss & David Joachim)
Asian eggplants are leaner, sweeter, and firmer than their more common Mediterranean counterparts. Their paper-thin skins don’t toughen during cooking, and their dense flesh browns beautifully, making them the definitive eggplant for grilling. There are several types of Asian eggplant. We prefer the Chinese type for its lavender skin and creamy white flesh; Japanese eggplant can also be used, but its flesh is more bitter.
You’ll need a grill screen and long-handled tongs for this grill recipe. If you have a gas grill, use direct heat set to medium-high (400 to 450 degrees) and be sure the grate is clean and oiled. If you’re using a charcoal grill, use direct heat (the coals should have a lightly ashy appearance) and a 12-inch-by-12-inch bed of coals (about 3 dozen coals); the grate should be clean, oiled, and on the lowest setting. Finally, if you’re grilling over wood, follow the same rules as for charcoal, but make sure the wood is about 3 to 4 inches deep and the grate is set about 3 inches above the fire.