Key Ingredient

Grilled Eggplant and Peppers with Basil Pesto

Photo by Kelli Boyd

Food Culture of the South

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yields

Serves 6 to 8

    For the basil pesto:
  • ¼ cup pine nuts, lightly toasted
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • ½ cup grated Parmesan
  • 2 cups basil
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • Zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • Kosher salt to taste
  • For the vegetables:
  • 12 small eggplants (such as Japanese eggplant)
  • 1 cup olive oil, divided

  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

  • 12 baby sweet peppers (or substitute bell peppers or banana peppers)
steps
  1. Make the basil pesto: In a food processor, pulse pine nuts until finely chopped. Add garlic and cheese and pulse lightly, then add basil. While pulsing, slowly stream in olive oil until it has been incorporated completely. Mix in lemon zest and juice and season with salt. Set aside.
  2. Prepare the vegetables: Cut eggplants lengthwise and toss with ½ cup of olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Toss whole peppers with remaining olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Set vegetables aside to marinate for 20 
to 30 minutes. Meanwhile, prepare a grill for high heat. Grill vegetables until they are nicely browned, moving and turning repeatedly for even coloring. Continue cooking until vegetables have softened but retain their shape. Serve topped with basil pesto.

From Homecoming on Little St. Simons Island.

  • Recipe by Matt Lerish, Little St. Simons Island, Georgia

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