Crostini Alla Norma
This classic Italian combination is a great vegetarian party starter or lunch dish.
- 1 small to medium-size eggplant, long and narrow in shape
- 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil (EVOO)
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 4 plum tomatoes, seeded and chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, grated
- 12 basil leaves, chopped
- 1 baguette, fatter in size, cut on a bias into 1/2-inch slices, makes about 10-12 slices
- 1/2 pound ricotta salata cheese
Yields: 4-6 servings
Preheat grill (or grill pan) to medium-high heat and the broiler to high heat.
Square off the eggplant so it sits flat and cut 1/2-inch-thick slices lengthwise. Season the sliced eggplant with salt and pepper, and brush with EVOO. Place on the hot grill and cook for about 3-4 minutes per side or until completely cooked. Remove from the grill, and let cool before chopping into bite-size pieces.
While the eggplant is cooling, combine tomatoes, garlic, basil, salt and pepper in a small mixing bowl and set aside. Add the chopped eggplant to the tomato mixture.
For the baguette, you want large round slices: Hold your serrated knife on a 45 degree angle and slice, keeping your knife on that angle; just like slicing a flank steak or London broil. Drizzle bread slices with EVOO and season with salt and pepper. Place under the broiler for about 30 seconds on each side. Keep a close eye on it, because if you're like me, you've burned one too many loaves of bread!
Remove the bread from the broiler and top with a spoonful of the tomato eggplant mixture. Sprinkle with ricotta salata cheese on top and serve.
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