Completing an eggplant trifecta, yesterday we had Eggplant Kebab on Rosemary Skewers. (Eggplant Clafoutis and Spaghetti with Eggplant and Tomato Sauce make up the other legs of the trifecta.)
Eggplant Kebab came about through sheer serendipity. I was washing eggplant, idly thinking about how to prepare it, when I noticed the vase of rosemary branches on the windowsill over the sink.
Two years ago at Easter we planted two tiny rosemary plants that are now large bushes. The bushes are growing all akimbo, having outgrown the small amount of soil in which they’re planted. The windowsill vase of rosemary contained the trimmings from a branch broken off by the kittens.
Three years ago we began feeding a mother cat with kittens. She’s been back every year since then, each time with a new brood. Over the years, the cat feeding has progressed from once in a while to twice a day, from leftovers in the back yard to cat food on the veranda.
Effie and Nikos, cousins who live nearby, use our yard when we’re not here for their kitchen garden, which they generously turn over to us when we're in the village. In our absence, they’re at our house most every day to weed, water, or harvest. They say the mother cat and kittens disappeared when we did last year and, endearingly, showed up again only the day before we returned.
The kittens are endlessly entertaining. We’re happy to give them a vacation from scrounging food in dumpsters or catching it when they can. Only a curmudgeon would care that gamboling kittens may damage a few plants.
Rosemary makes splendid souvlaki skewers. When I saw the rosemary while my hands were full of eggplant, a picture of Eggplant Kebab on Rosemary Skewers jumped immediately to mind. I had to have them.
I alternated eggplant on the rosemary skewers with onions and green peppers, and would have used cherry tomatoes if I’d had any. Grilled over a medium hot fire, and brushed with garlic and oil while still hot, Eggplant Kebabs are flavorful and very tasty. Rosemary lightly scents the eggplant, while the fresh garlic oil complements the grill's smoky essence.
In the future, if the kittens aren’t around to break off some rosemary, I’ll just have to do it myself. I’m definitely making Eggplant Kebab again.
Eggplant Kebab on Rosemary Skewers (Κεμπάμπ με Μελιτζάνες και Δενδρολίβανο)
Cherry tomatoes would make an attractive addition to Eggplant Kebab. If the rosemary is starting to form new shoots along its length, break these off to make it easier to push the vegetables up the skewers.
4 rosemary branches, 12 inches long
1 large eggplant (about 1 pound), cut in 1 1/2” chunks
1 – 2 red onions, cut in 1 1/2” chunks
1 – 2 green peppers, cut in 1 1/2” chunks
Freshly ground black pepper
Garlic and Oil:
2 cloves garlic
1/4 tsp. salt
1/3 cup olive oil
Cut the ends off the rosemary branches at an angle to make sharp points. Alternate chunks of eggplant, onions, and peppers on the skewers, starting and ending with a chunk of eggplant. Brush the vegetables with olive oil and season well with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Puree the garlic and salt together (a mortar and pestle is the best tool for this job, but it can also be done in a blender). Mix in the olive oil.
Grill the eggplant skewers over a medium hot fire. As soon as they’re done, brush them with the garlic and oil. Serve immediately with a fresh tomato and onion salad, a slice of feta, a handful of olives, and crusty bread.