Saturday, September 10, 2011

Eggplant Bruschetta

I couldn't decide what to call this. It's sort of like a ratatouille. I've seen similar dishes called caponata. I've seen it with names that most people wouldn't recognize. I've had similar things in restaurants where it was described, but not named.

In the end, I'm not naming the eggplant dish. Instead, I'll just name the final creation. Bruschetta has some classic forms, but lately it seems like it can be anything on a thin slice of bread. So this qualifies.

I added a hot pepper to mine - it was a fire roasted yellow Hungarian wax pepper that I got at the farmer's market. If you don't like heat, you can leave it out, no problem. If you don't happen to have the same pepper, you can use what's available - a jalapeno, serrano, or even a sprinkle of chili flakes or cayenne.

The eggplants I used were small round ones - a large standard eggplant would be fine, too.

This is also great as a side dish, or you could serve it as an entree over rice. I like it best gently warmed, but it's good cold, as well.

If you don't have tomato juice, you can use tomato sauce or tomato paste thinned with water.

Eggplant Bruschetta

2 small eggplants
1 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium onion
1 small zucchini
1 small yellow squash
1/2 green pepper, cored and seeded
2 cups tomato juice
1 teaspoon oregano
12 olives
1 hot pepper (optional)
Sliced baguette
1 clove garlic

Peel and dice the eggplant into pieces about 1/4 inch square. Put the eggplant in a colander, sprinkle with salt, stir to distribute the salt, and let it drain while you prep everything else.

Dice the onion, zucchini, yellow squash, and green pepper into pieces about the same size as the eggplant. Dice the olives finely.

Heat the olive oil in a frying pan on medium heat. Add the onions and green pepper and cook for a few minutes, stirring as needed, until they soften. Add the zucchini and yellow squash and cook for a few minutes more.

Rinse the eggplant to remove the excess salt, and add it to the pan. Add the tomato juice, oregano, olives (and the hot pepper, if you're using it). Cook at a simmer until the liquid is mostly gone and all the vegetables are soft. If the vegetables haven't softened as much as you like, add more water or tomato juice.

Taste for seasoning and add salt, if needed.

To serve, slice the baguette thinly. You can toast it, if you prefer. Run the garlic clove on one side of the bread, then top the bread with the warm eggplant mixture. Add a small dollop of the chevre. Serve.

This has been submitted to Yeastspotting.