August 18, 2014

eggplant crostini

eggplant crostini | TWELFTH AVENUEDid you know that eggplant is a summer vegetable? I had no idea! In my mind, I always lumped eggplant in with the fall/winter root vegetables (maybe it’s a texture thing?), but as I found out in my latest CSA share, eggplants are, in fact, harvested in late summer.

So now the question is what to do with them? The blazing Portland sunshine and 90 degree summer temps don’t exactly have me yearning for eggplant parm…is there such a thing as a cold, refreshing eggplant dish?

YEP.

A quick perusal of Deb‘s archives revealed this “crostini” recipe that uses roasted eggplant rounds as the base for a light, salty, herbaceous tomato salad. (Side question: Do you read Smitten Kitchen? It’s seriously the best. First place I go when I’m in need of a recipe or meal inspiration, before Pinterest even. Pinterest is actually pretty far down the list for me at sixth or seventh. I don’t know why I even pin recipes. If it’s not from SK or Pioneer Woman or How Sweet It Is or one of my Giada cookbooks or my mangled-within-an-inch-of-its-life-from-overuse Best of Cooking Light cookbook, it’s probably not worth making.)

But back to the recipe at hand…These roasted eggplant “crostini” thingys are surprisingly delectable. What started as a healthy way to use up a lot of CSA produce turned out to be a very satisfying dinner. I ate half of the batch on the spot and have plans to combine the leftovers with quinoa for dinner number two tomorrow night. Welcome to the summer dinner rotation, little eggplants!

Roasted Eggplant Crostini with Tomatoes, Feta & Mint
(adapted ever so slightly from Smitten Kitchen)
serves 4 as an appetizer, 2 as a light meal

INGREDIENTS

1 Tablespoon plus 4 teaspoons olive oil
2 medium eggplants, cut in 3/4- to 1-inch slices
2 ounces (1/2 cup) crumbled feta cheese
2 Tablespoons capers, drained
1/3 cup diced red onion
3 diced medium tomatoes (1 1/2 cups)
3 Tablespoons minced fresh mint and parsley leaves
2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
Ground black pepper

PREPARATION

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Coat a large baking sheet with one Tablespoon olive oil. Arrange eggplant rounds in a single layer. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast, without disturbing, for 15 to 20 minutes. Carefully flip each piece: the undersides should be blistery, dark and a bit puffy and should release from the pan with no effort. If they don’t, let them cook longer. Once flipped, sprinkle them with additional salt and pepper and return the pan to the oven for another 10 to 12 minutes, until the undersides match the tops.

Meanwhile, mix your feta, capers, onion, tomatoes, herbs, vinegar and remaining 4 teaspoons olive oil in a small bowl. Add more vinegar and ground black pepper, to taste.

When the eggplant rounds are done, arrange them on a plate or serving platter. Scoop a spoonful of the salad over each round. Eat immediately.