Grilled Eggplant with Arrabiata Fresca – Recipe

Grilled Eggplant with Fresh Arrabiata
Grilled Eggplant with Fresh Arrabiata

In the course of planning an Italian-oriented meal, it occurred to me that an arrabiata sauce has mostly the same ingredients that you would associate with a fresh Mexican-style salsa. Traditional arrabiata contains onion, garlic, tomatoes and fresh chili peppers. "Arrabiata" means "angry", referring to the heat from the chilis.

So it might be a bit of a stretch, but I prepared this raw version with cherry tomatoes and chile de arbol that went smashingly with simple grilled eggplant. You could serve this as an appetizer or salad course. If you are grilling, throw the eggplant on first and your guests can nosh on this while you prepare the rest of the meal.

As you can see from the picture, it would have been wise to drain some of the liquid from the tomatoes first – so the recipe is written with that instruction.

Grilled Eggplant with Arrabiata Fresca
Serves 6 as an appetizer
Vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free

  • 2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved (or an equivalent amount of larger heirloom tomatoes, large dice)
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/4 small white onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 fresh chile de arbol, seeds and ribs removed, minced (more or less to your heat preference)
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 large or 4 smaller eggplants – look for ones that feel heavy for their size – cut into 3/8" thick slabs or rounds
  • olive oil for grilling
  1. Put the cut tomatoes in a sieve, toss with the salt, and let drain for one hour. Drain that over a bowl and drink it, cook's treat!
  2. Transfer the tomatoes to a small bowl and toss with the garlic, white onion, hot pepper, and olive oil. Taste and adjust seasoning. Allow to rest awhile for the flavors to develop. As long as you are serving within an hour, don't refrigerate – it tastes much better at room temperature.
  3. Brush eggplant slices with olive oil and grill (or roast in 400 degree oven) until thoroughly tender. Undercooked eggplant is horrible, please don't do that.
  4. Serve the eggplant and pass the salsa.
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Posted by Michael Natkin on Monday, August 17th, 2009 in Appetizers, Gluten-Free or modifiable, Recipes, Vegan or Modifiable.

4 Responses to “Grilled Eggplant with Arrabiata Fresca – Recipe”

  1. August 17, 2009 at 6:27 pm #

    Michael, To Salt or Not To Salt the Eggplant, That is the Question. I hate the question cuz I never know exactly how to answer it when I’m teaching. If you’re frying, salt. But if you’re not?? What do you think? I’d love to see a post about it on your site. I do love me some eggplant and all’arrabiata is the best. Have you seen the Star Wars lego youtube about penne all’arrabiata? Too funny…

  2. Michael Natkin
    August 17, 2009 at 8:10 pm #

    That video is frickin hilarious (the Penne all’Arrabiata one that Ivy
    mentioned: link to youtube.com ). As far as salting
    goes, I haven’t ever found it to be particularly necessary. People say it
    removes bitterness but most of the eggplants I get are creamy and sweet,
    with maybe just a slight but pleasant bitter edge. Certainly nothing
    objectionable. Maybe folks who think you need to salt it just aren’t cooking
    it thoroughly enough? Although I’ll give one caveat… the eggplant parm.
    recipe I have on the blog, I did salt it the time I made that, because a
    guest insisted they would hate it otherwise! And I haven’t remade it since,
    so I can’t vouch that it would work without salting before frying.

  3. August 18, 2009 at 3:13 pm #

    I love the arrabiata. Bookmarked to try it sometime :)

  4. August 26, 2009 at 3:05 pm #

    This looks excellent and fortunately I have all the ingredients. Thanks for the recipe!

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