Grilled Eggplant with Roasted Cherry Tomatoes and Pesto

Serve this lovely salad/side dish alongside items such as grilled pork, lamb, chicken or fish.

Preparation time: 20 minutes

Cooking time: About 30 minutes

Makes: 4 to 6 servings

24 cherry tomatoes, each pricked once with a paring knife

2 to 3 Tbsp (30 to 45 mL) pesto

Salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste

2 Tbsp (30 mL) olive oil, plus some for drizzling

2 medium Japanese eggplant, sliced, on the bias, into 1/4- to 1/2-inch (.5 to 1-cm) thick slices (see Note)

Balsamic vinegar to taste

Preheat the oven to 225°F (108°C). Line a 9 x 13-inch baking dish (3.5 L) with parchment paper. Add the tomatoes and pesto and toss to combine. Season with saLt and pepper and then roast tomatoes 25 to 30 minutes, or until just softened, but still holding their shape.

While the tomatoes roast, preheat your barbecue or indoor grill to medium-high. Toss the eggplant slices with the 2 Tbsp (30 mL) olive oil; season with salt and pepper. Grill the eggplant about 2 minutes per side, or until nicely coloured and just tender.

Arrange eggplant on a serving platter. When the tomatoes are cooked, set them on top of the eggplant. Drizzle with a little balsamic vinegar, and, if desired, a bit of olive oil.

Note: The eggplant I used was about 10-inches (25-cm) long and two-inches (5-cm) wide. I like using Japanese eggplant because they are sweeter than regular eggplant and grill nicely.