This is a substantial dish great for a relaxed weekend brunch or even for a dinner party. Eggs at dinner? Sure, when you have a setting for them as great as tender sautéed eggplant and tomatoes and grilled polenta cakes! This recipe takes a little more “in the kitchen” prep time than do most grill recipes, but once you try it you will agree that it is well worth the effort.
Hearty polenta cakes are grilled over flame before covering a fried egg on top of a simple eggplant and tomato stew. It is a blend of flavors and textures, which is certain to satisfy even the hungriest guest at your table. Well worth the effort, this is a recipe you will want to make time and time again.
The first thing to do is heat up the barbeque and that will take a while, so while it is warming up you can start to prepare the dish in the kitchen. Sauté the tomatoes and eggplant with garlic and parsley, in a pan on the stove. The mixture should not dry out but if it looks like it is on the verge of doing so, you can throw in a splash of liquid. Either water or wine will work here. Keep an eye on the mixture while it is cooking, because drying out is a possibility, especially if you have the heat too high. Stir the mixture regularly to prevent sticking and to ensure the ingredients all combine nicely together.
Salt, pepper and paprika go into the mixture when it is almost done, to bring out the other flavors in there. Next fry the eggs and then it is time to finish off the dish by cooking the polenta. This can be grilled, and in fact it is best done on the barbeque because not only do you get grill-marks from the grate, but you will also achieve a nice smoky flavor which complements the dish as a whole. If you only have a gas grill you will still get the grill-marks which always catch the eye, but you will not have the smoky flavor. Cooking on a gas grill is better than cooking on no grill at all though!
This recipe offers a nice south of the border flavor, which comes from the tomatoes, parsley and corn cakes, although polenta is typically Italian so you have a fusion touch here too. This is a full meal, not just a side dish, so plan to serve this as your entrée. If you do want to extend it further though, you might want to barbeque some chicken breasts and serve those with it. Steak would also go well with this recipe or even pork. Perhaps you do not want to have meat or you are cooking for vegetarians, in which case just serve this as it is because it offers sufficient flavors to be interesting and satisfying.
- 1 medium eggplant, chopped into ½ inch cubes
- 4 plum tomatoes, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced (more if desired)
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp black pepper
- ½ tsp paprika
- ¼ cup flat leaf (Italian) parsley, finely chopped (curly parsley may be substituted)
- 4 eggs
- Pre-cooked polenta (available in a tube at most grocery stores - far easier than making your own)
- Olive oil
- While the grill is getting hot, cube your eggplant, dice the tomatoes, chop parsley, and mince garlic. Add all of these to a pan on medium-low heat and allow to cook covered, adding a splash of water or wine if necessary.
- This will take about 15 minutes (when the eggplant is tender, it is done). Add salt, pepper, paprika, and taste - add more if necessary.
- You may need some help inside for the next step.
- You will need to fry your 4 eggs while the polenta grills; you may want to ask for a hand to ensure that nothing burns during this. The eggs should take about 3-5 minutes, depending on how done you like them.
- Slice the polenta into thick rounds, one per diner. Grill for 3 minutes per side (you just want to get a slight char and grill marks, make sure not to burn them) and once these are done, assemble your plates - a bed of the eggplant and tomatoes, topped with the fried egg and finally the polenta, each round sliced into thirds. Serve and watch your guests be impressed!
Eggplant and tomato stew is served with fried eggs and corn cakes to make the most delicious meal, which the whole family will enjoy very much. You could barbeque the tomatoes and eggplant in this recipe if you wanted to add an extra-special flavor to the vegetable stew, but the grilled corn cakes already offer plenty of char-grilled flavor, so the choice is yours. This is a full meal more than a vegetable side dish recipe but could easily made into an accompaniment to a grilled dinner if you wanted to have some chicken or steak on the side.
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