Great techniques, quality flavors transform mild eggplant
5 garlic cloves, minced
1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/2 cup plain whole-milk yogurt
3 tablespoons chopped fresh mint
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest, plus 2 teaspoons juice
1 teaspoon ground cumin
2 pounds eggplant, sliced into 1/4-inch-thick rounds
1. Combine oil, garlic and pepper flakes in bowl. Microwave, uncovered, until garlic is golden brown and crispy, about 2 minutes. Strain garlic oil through fine-mesh strainer into small bowl. Reserve garlic oil and crispy garlic separately.
2. Combine yogurt, mint, 1 tablespoon garlic oil, the lemon zest and juice, cumin and 1/4 teaspoon salt in separate bowl; set aside while preparing eggplant.
3A. FOR A CHARCOAL GRILL: Open bottom vent completely. Light a large chimney starter filled with charcoal briquettes (6 quarts). When the top coals are partially covered with ash, pour evenly over grill. Set the cooking grate in place, cover, and open lid vent completely. Heat grill until hot, about 5 minutes.
3B. FOR A GAS GRILL: Turn all burners to high, cover, and heat grill until hot, about 15 minutes. Turn all burners to medium-high.
4. Clean and oil the cooking grate. Brush eggplant all over with remaining garlic oil and season with salt and pepper. Arrange half of eggplant on grill and cook (covered if using gas) until browned and tender, about 4 minutes per side. Transfer to platter. Repeat with remaining eggplant. Serve eggplant with yogurt sauce and sprinkle with crispy garlic.
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