Bruschetta with Tomato and Grilled Eggplant
Bruschetta with Vine Ripened Tomatoes, Grilled Eggplant, and Ricotta Salata Cheese
8 Slices Italian Ciabatta or other Crusty Bread, cut into 1/2" slices
4 Medium sized Vine Ripened Tomatoes or 6 Roma Tomatoes
1-2 Italian Eggplants, cut into 16 1/2" slices
1/2 cup loosely packed Fresh Basil leaves
1/2 lb. Ricotta Salata Cheese (You can use feta too)
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Fresh Cracked Pepper
Prepare Grill to Medium-Medium High or Set Oven to 400 degrees. Cut tomatoes in half and using a spoon, remove seeds and liquid. Julienne tomatoes into strips, and then dice into small cubes. Reserve in a colander to drain any more liquid, cover and refrigerate. **This next step is optional** Sprinkle both sides of sliced eggplant with salt and place in a colander (do not stack) to drain the water out, approx 30 minutes. Rinse and pat dry. Lightly brush eggplant with oil, and sprinkle with salt (no salt needed if you did the previous step) and pepper. Grill or roast in oven until eggplant is soft and tender throughout, about 30-40 minutes in an oven, about 5-7 minutes per side on a grill. If you are doing this in an oven, make sure you put the eggplant on a pan that can drain into another pan because the eggplant will give off a lot of liquid if you did not salt and drain the eggplant. This can be done up to one day ahead, just cover and refrigerate, then bring up eggplant to room temp before plating.
To assemble. Grill or toast bread until they are browned and crispy. Julienne (chiffonade) the basil, and toss it with the diced tomatoes along with two tablespoons of olive oil and salt and pepper to taste. Lay two slices of eggplant on each slice of bread, evenly distribute the tomatoes over the eggplant, and then generously grate the cheese over the tomatoes.
"Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it."
Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe