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Cooking with JoJo: What's cooking in my kitchen? Nothing...

Joey Morasse • Jun 27, 2017 at 10:39 PM

Ah, the grill…a great way to keep your kitchen cool during the summer, eat healthier and minimize the cleanup after a meal. In the evening as the sun is starting its way down to give us some relief from the heat and humidity, the perfect end to a long day is a tasty meal all done on the grill. Whether you consider yourself a grill master or you’re just learning, this recipe for steak and eggplant is quick and easy at any level.

Eggplant? 

Yes, the eggplant is in the family of the potato and the tomato. In other parts of the world, you may hear it called aubergine. The eggplant, in my opinion, is underrated and delicious and packed with numerous vitamins and minerals. A raw eggplant is bitter but when cooked, has a rich, nutty and deliciously complex flavor.

Do I need an expensive steak? 

No, in fact, some of the best steaks I have purchased are under $6. The key to cooking any steak is proper seasoning, as well as taking your steak out of the fridge to get it close to room temperature before cooking it.  A cold steak placed on a hot grill or pan will become tough quickly as the muscle fibers tighten up under the extreme changes. Lastly, slicing it thin against the grain after it has rested off of the grill for up to five minutes allows the juices to redistribute and will make for a more tender bite. Enough talking, let’s grill…

A grill should have three different temperatures, hot for searing, medium hot for veggies and warm for holding cooked foods without cooking them further.

What you’ll need…a steak of your choice, eggplant, oil – I prefer olive oil – and coarse salt.

Salt only?

Yes, that’s right. Season your steak with a nice bit of salt on both sides. When you grill or cook black pepper, it becomes acrid or bitter. Add pepper to your steak after it is grilled. I also may dust it with a bit of garlic powder, as well, when done. Salt only allows for a nice crust and is a great base to top with other flavors.

With the skin on, slice the eggplant to create round slices. Cut them almost ½-inch thick as they will shrink as they cook. After slicing, lay them out so you can brush them with oil. Do not over oil. Eggplants are like sponges, and they can get soggy quickly with too much oil. Sprinkle with salt only on both sides.

Start with the eggplant first. Lay them on the grill and let them cook on each side for two minutes. After you flip them once, now it is time for the steak…

Lay the steak on the hot grill, and leave it alone. We all love to turn it, spin it etc., but trust me, let the grill do the work. Depending on how you like your steak cooked, start with a minute per side. Test your steak’s doneness by touch. The harder the steak, the more done. If it feels like the pad of your thumb when pressed, it is rare to medium rare and so on. 

When done, remove and let it rest. After resting, slice it thinly at an angle and across the grain. When the eggplant is done, it will be slightly charred, soft and delicious…enjoy.

Cooking since he could pull a chair up to the stove at 5 years old, Joey Morasse, of Lebanon, is the owner and operator of JoJo’s Barbecue and Catering. He is also a personal chef and offers in-home cooking classes.

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