Summer Eggplant and Tomato Bruschetta
Bruschetta (broo-sketta) is a popular Italian antipasto (before dinner treat) designed to stimulate your palate and your appetite for dinner. The toppings for bruschetta are myriad – pecorino and honey, a raw tomato salsa, herbed ricotta topped with grilled zucchini – whatever is in season and fresh.
Two 1-pound eggplants
4-5 large tomatoes on the vine
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
6 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
10-12 Basil leaves, coarsely shredded
Juice of half lemon
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
Salt to taste
2 medium sized baguettes (yielding at least 16 slices)
Olive oil to drizzle on top
4-5 cloves of garlic to rub on toasted bread
Slice the eggplants crosswise into 1/4 inch thick in matchsticks. Remove strips of skin but leave half on the eggplant for nutrients. Transfer the eggplant to a colander, sprinkle generously with salt and toss to coat. Let drain for at least 30 minutes.
Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over high heat and cook the eggplant for 3-5 minutes.
Add garlic, tomatoes, herbs and remaining ingredients and cook down until the liquids evaporate. Season to taste with salt.
Meanwhile, preheat a oven to 350 degrees. Brush the bread with olive oil. Bake the bread until lightly toasted, 5-8 minutes. Remove from oven and cool. Once cooled, lightly rub a garlic clove over the oiled side of the bread. Arrange on platter and spoon about 1-2 tablespoons of the eggplant mixture on each piece of bread, and serve.
A very high end balsamic vinegar is a perfect for a drizzle on top.