Smoky Marinated Eggplant with Herb Salsa

Eggplant served with salsa and yogurt
Plated with yogurt and lemon wedges

Blue Apron is teaming up with chefs across the country to support Feeding America®. To participate, head over to our social media channels. Share our Facebook post or tag a friend on Instagram, and Blue Apron will donate an additional $5 to Feeding America, up to $50,000. Thanks to chef Rikki Giambruno of Hyacinth for sharing this recipe for rich and herbaceous marinated eggplant. 

Hyacinth is the brainchild of chef Rikki Giambruno. The charming and colorful restaurant pays respects to multiple aspects of the chef’s background. The food is inspired by his family’s Italian heritage, but local Minnesotan flare runs throughout. It’s in the ingredients the chef chooses to highlight, it’s in the local flowers displayed in the dining room, and it’s in the name of the restaurant itself; the chef grew up on Hyacinth Rd in Victoria, Minnesota.  

This recipe celebrates the richness and versatility of eggplants; try it on the grill or in a screaming hot pan, just don’t be afraid of a little char. 

Grilled or Roasted Marinated Eggplant with Lovage Salsa 

For the eggplants

  • 4 Eggplants, preferably Japanese or thin globe eggplants  
  • Salt

For the marinade

  • 2 Tbsp crushed coriander seeds 
  • 2 Tbsp crushed cumin seeds  
  • 1 Tbsp crushed fennel seeds 
  • ½ tsp ground cinnamon 
  • 2 tsp Aleppo pepper 
  • 1 clove garlic, grated 
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • About 1 C extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp tomato paste

For the lovage salsa 

  • 2 C lovage leaves, roughly chopped
  • 1 C parsley leaves, roughly chopped
  • ½ C cilantro leaves, roughly chopped  
  • ½ C mint leaves, roughly chopped 
  • 1 medium shallot, minced  
  • 2 pieces green garlic, minced OR ½ clove garlic, grated  
  • 1 Tbsp white wine vinegar 
  • 1 tsp honey 
  • 1 lemon, zested and juiced 
  • ½ tsp Aleppo pepper 
  • 1 C extra virgin olive oil 
  • Salt to taste 

To serve 

  • Lemon wedges 
  • Sea salt 
  • Greek yogurt 

Prepare the marinade and eggplants:

  1. Cut the eggplants in half lengthwise. With a sharp knife, score the flesh of the eggplant in a crisscross pattern. Season the flesh side of the eggplant with salt and rub it in until it is fully absorbed. Allow the eggplant to sit at room temperature for at least 30 minutes. You should see beads of moisture begin to form on the eggplant.
  2. After the eggplants have rested, gently squeeze each half to remove the excess water. Use paper towels to blot them as dry as possible. 
  3. Combine all the dry marinade ingredients together. Slowly stir in the olive oil until the mixture reaches a wet sand consistency. Mix in the tomato paste, then rub the cut sides of the eggplants with marinade.   
  4. Heat a grill, grill pan, or cast iron pan to high heat. If you are using a cast iron pan preheat your oven to 400° F, using convection if possible. Add a slick of oil to the pan. Once your cooking surface is preheated, place the eggplants cut side down.
  5. If grilling, allow the cut side to become very well roasted and charred in places. Once you are satisfied with the level of grill/char on the cut side, flip them over onto the skin side and cook until the eggplant is completely tender. You can test this by poking the eggplant with a cake tester, or by simply pinching it with your finger.  
  6. If roasting, after you have added the eggplant to the pan, let the pan heat back up, searing the cut side of the eggplant gently. Place the pan in the oven, eggplant still cut side down, and roast until completely tender. Check after 10 minutes. If it isn’t done, check every five minutes until it’s cooked through. 

Make the salsa:

  1. Combine lemon juice, vinegar and honey in a bowl. Add the shallot and green garlic (or garlic clove) first. Stir until well combined and let sit for a few minutes.
  2. Add the remaining ingredients and mix well. Taste the salsa and add salt to taste. Adjust the seasoning with lemon juice or Aleppo pepper if necessary. 

To serve:

  1. Serve the eggplants warm, topped with lovage salsa and with lemon wedges, sea salt and yogurt on the side.