Mark Bittman spruiks grilled eggplant in his NY Times column, but smoky, roasted aubergine is not just a summer dish. Our pizza champion wraps eggplant in aluminium foil and grills the parcel on an oven rack balanced directly over a gas burner – eight minutes per side. Confidence in my shaky Italian translation was low, and a slosh of olive oil seemed appropriate inside the silver wrapper. The result was incendiary. Best to omit oil when grilling over a naked flame.