I know it sounds a little weird coming from a person who grills rather regularly, but there a lot of times that I want something that is on the lighter side – still grilled mind you – but meatless. I served this the other night for dinner with a couple carnivore friends and everyone left the table completely satisfied.
The stand out of this dish is the grilled halloumi cheese which hails from Greece. Halloumi has a high melt-point and is great for grilling, frying, or searing. Brushed with a little oil, it can be paced directly on the grill grates for about 45 seconds, flip and grill another 30 seconds and you have a soft, melty, deliciousness with a hint of char flavor.
The grilled eggplant only takes about 3 to 4 minutes per side, brushed with a rosemary and garlic olive oil. To bring home the Mediterranean flavors the seemed to be going on, I made a simple salad of sliced olives and and crumbled feta to top it off.
If you simply cannot entertain the idea of a meatless-Monday dinner, a quickly grilled chicken cutlet or whitefish fillet would be delicious as well.
- 3 to 4 sprig fresh rosemary
- 1 clove garlic
- Olive oil
- 1 cup sliced Mediterranean olives
- 4 ounces crumbled feta cheese
- 1 lemon
- 2 medium eggplants, not too bulbous, cut into ½-inch rounds
- 4 large tomatoes, ½-inch slices, seeds removed
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 8 ounces halloumi cheese, sliced slightly less than ½-inch thick
- Strip leaves from rosemary and finely chop. Reserve 1 teaspoon and add the remaining rosemary in a bowl. Mince the garlic and toss in with the rosemary then pour in about ½ cup of the olive oil; set aside.
- In another medium bowl, combine the olives and feta. Use a microplane or other fine grater and grate the lemon zest into the bowl. Squeeze in about 1 tablespoon of lemon juice, add the reserved teaspoon of rosemary, and stir to combine. Set aside in the refrigerator until ready to serve.
- Set up grill for direct heat grilling with medium-high heat. Brush and oil grate before grilling.
- Brush both sides of the eggplant, tomato, and halloumi slices with the rosemary-garlic oil. Season the eggplant and tomatoes with salt and pepper.
- Grill the eggplant for 3 to 4 minutes per side - they should be golden-brown with nice grill mark and the interior should be soft and gray-ish and no longer white. Grill the tomatoes for 1 to 2 minutes per side and the halloumi for 45 to 60 seconds per side or until marked and soft.
- For serving, stack it all up and top with the olive-feta salad.
Cheers and Happy Grilling!