This gives me one more reason to grow eggplant in my garden this summer! This is a WINNER... even if you don't like eggplant! REALLY!

1 TBS sugar

1 TBS crushed red pepper

dash of sea salt

6 garlic cloves

2 TBS fish sauce

Juice of 1 lime (maybe 2.... I love limes)

1 cup vegetable oil

3 traditional eggplants OR 6 Japanese eggplants

2 shallots, finely chopped

10 mint leaves, chopped

10 basil leaves, chopped

The following technique is easy once you read it and do it once. This is how I treat all eggplant I grill. The bitter liquid will be released from the eggplant and make it so delicious.

Cut eggplants into 1/4 inch rounds. Line a large baking sheet with paper towels. Put eggplant in a single layer  on the paper towel. Salt on one side, turn the eggplant and salt on the other. Cover with 2 layers of paper towels and repeat with another layer of eggplants. Cover with paper towels and continue the process until all the eggplants are used. Put another large baking sheet on the top of the pile of eggplants and weigh down with a cast iron pan, a pot filled with water or a couple of heavy cookbooks. Let stand for 15-20 minutes. Wipe off all salt.

While eggplants are hanging out giving up there bitterness make the dressing.

Combine sugar, red pepper, salt and fish sauce in a small saucepan and heat over medium heat until the sugar and salt are dissolved. Remove from the heat and let cool. Add the lime juice and set aside.

Heat oil in a saucepan and add garlic. Summer for 10 minutes. Remove garlic and discard.

Heat a oven-top griddle ( or outdoor grill) to medium heat. Brush eggplant with garlic oil and put on grill. Grill until it is slightly charred. Flip over and grill the other side until charred. About 7-8 minutes in total.

When the eggplant is cool enough to handle, chop into bite-sized pieces.

Put eggplant in a bowl and add shallots, mint and basil leaves. Lightly coat and toss with dressing.