During her last visit, my friend Rina bought me a high quality panini press and we had great fun experimenting with it before she left, discovering that in addition to giving sandwiches a crusty exterion it did a good job on boned chicken breasts and small steaks.
It took me over a year to try it for grilling eggplant. Omigod. I just renamed mine an “eggplant press”. All you have to do is turn the damn thing on with the temperature indicator set to the middle, and while it’s heating pour out a shallow lake of good olive oil into a plate and slice the eggplant into inch thick slices.
When the green light comes on, open up the press, briefly touch both sides of each slice into the olive oil, toss them into the press, and close the lid.
When the green light comes back on, open the lid and test a slice with a touch. If you want it softer, close the lid for a couple more minutes.
I always buy the traditional big eggplants rather than the modern, slim Japanese types, but any type will work. When i’m feeling fancy, i’ll use some lemon-infused olive oil like that “Lisbon Lemon” one from Stonehouse.
This has got to be the quickest and easiest way to cook eggplant, and it needs nothing other than a little shake of salt.