20 August, 2014
Grilled Eggplant Bruschetta
This twist on a summertime favorite, notably gluten-free, was a hit with my eggplant-loving friend last week. I have to be honest, eggplant is not my first choice; however, I did find the fruit to be quite enjoyable this way. At the farmers market and in preparation, I painfully discovered that if their stems are attached, they may also be quite spiny. Finally, on a more positive note and in hopeful discovery, I found out that the grilled 3/4″ slices supported the seasonal tomato topping beautifully.
As I meandered through the farmers market at Upper Haight, I found that Blue House Farm provided me with almost everything I purchased for that night’s menu. Their displays are almost always eye-catching and their produce – reliable and ripe.
Once home and before our dinner guest made her appearance, I had been busy in the kitchen making Chimichurri and a Tri-Tip Marinade as well as a Dragonfruit Kale Salad. I knew the eggplant would be her favorite though because I remembered her saying it is her favorite food – more than once. I was in my kitchen, preparing ingredients for bruschetta when it came to me how I would incorporate the eggplant into my menu – try grilling the eggplant in place of using grilled bread for bruschetta. Voila!
I knew that in order for that to work, having prepared grilled eggplant before, that the eggplant gets a little soggy if the heat is not high enough and if the eggplant slices are too thin. With that in mind, I decided on cutting the eggplant into thicker slices than I had on prior occasion – but not before getting a thorn stuck in my hand (watch out for those spiny stems!). I also turning up the heat on the grill during cooking and that worked pretty well:)
As for salting the eggplant, it turns out just like I mentioned about skinning tomatoes in a previous post – there is more than one way. It does seem that salting, which I did not do this time, is the preferred method when I searched online. As an article I read after-the-fact said about my dinner guest’s recommendation – next time, I will try salting it heavily and rinsing it prior to seasoning in order to reduce its natural moisture and increase its sweetness.
Grilled Eggplant Bruschetta
3-4 heirloom tomatoes, assorted varieties
6 leaves, fresh basil
olive oil, 2 tbs
balsamic vinegar, 1 tbs
Dice tomatoes and place in a glass bowl. Lightly salt. Tear basil and add to bowl. Drizzle balsamic and let stand while preparing and grilling the eggplant. Slice eggplant in 3/4 inch thick rounds. Brush with olive oil and salt generously prior to placing on a grill. Cook over medium-high heat for 20 minutes or until crisp, turning once on each side. Spoon topping onto grilled eggplant and serve immediately.