James London of Chubby Fish in Charleston shares a flame-grilled version of eggplant and peppers cooked from his Sea Island Forge kettle grill. Paired with an earthy chermoula with notes of lime, garlic, and coriander, the char of the eggplant and peppers blends seamlessly into the sauce.
Serves 6 to 8
2 pounds mixed peppers, whole
Olive oil 2 pounds eggplant, cut in half from top to bottom and scored (London prefers fairytale or Japanese eggplants)
*Makes about 1½ cups
6 tablespoons cumin seeds, toasted and ground
2 tablespoons coriander seeds, toasted and ground
4 tablespoons smoked paprika
4 teaspoons red pepper flakes
10 garlic cloves, smashed
4 tablespoons lime juice
4 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 cup extra-virgin olive oil
For the Chermoula
- Heat a grill to medium-high. In a large bowl, combine peppers, 1 to 2 tablespoons salt, and 1 to 2 tablespoons olive oil and toss to combine. Place peppers on grill, turning occasionally until skin is charred and peppers are soft, about 3 to 5 minutes.
- Transfer peppers to a mixing bowl and cover with plastic wrap; let steam for 15 minutes. Remove from bowl and let cool; peel skin from peppers using a paper towel or dish towel and remove seeds. Cut peppers into strips and set aside in a mixing bowl.
- In a cast-iron pan over medium-high heat, pour 3 to 4 tablespoons olive oil. Add salt to surface of pan; you’re looking for an even layer of salt over the surface of the oil. Once pan is hot and oil is shimmering, place eggplant cut-side down into oil. With a spatula, press eggplant down so cut sides brown evenly. Once eggplant has browned, remove from pan and add to pepper bowl.
- Toss eggplant and peppers with enough Chermoula to coat vegetables. Serve more Chermoula on the side.
- In a blender, combine cumin, coriander, paprika, red pepper flakes, garlic, lime juice, salt, and pepper and blend together. With the blender running, add olive oil in a slow stream. Next, add 4 tablespoons of water in a slow stream and continue blending until emulsified.
Recipe ByJames London, chef-owner of Chubby Fish, Charleston