Since reading Eating on the Wild Side, I’ve been trying to fill my grocery basket with more nutrient-rich purple vegetables and to roast them to get the most nutrition out of them. Deep purple eggplant is rich in a number of vitamins, fiber, and antioxidants that fight disease and even help lower bad cholesterol. I love the almost-melted texture of roasted eggplant, and here its softness complements crunchy toasted bread, a pillowy layer of cheese, and a sprinkling of sliced tomatoes and parsley. Almost all components can be prepared ahead of time — all but the toasted bread — and assembled as a quick appetizer. Enjoy!
Roasted Eggplant, Ricotta & Tomato Crostini
(Appetizer for about 4 people)
- 1 medium eggplant
- olive oil
- salt & pepper
- 3/4 cup soft ricotta
- 3/4 cup grated parmigiano-reggiano
- salt & pepper
- about 10 cherry tomatoes
- 1 bunch parsley
- one freshly baked baguette
Directions: Pre-heat oven to 400 F (200 C). Line a baking sheet with foil and brush lightly with olive oil. Cut the eggplant into 1/4-inch-thick circles at a slight diagonal cut. Brush both sides lightly with olive oil using a pastry brush and place the eggplant on the foil. Sprinkle with salt & pepper and roast until tender and darkened slightly on the bottom, about 15 to 20 minutes. Meanwhile, prepare the cheese: mix ricotta and grated parmigiano-reggiano and salt & pepper to taste. Slice each cherry tomato into 3 to 4 circles and chop the parsley.
When eggplant is ready, remove from oven and let cool. Transfer the eggplant with a flat spatula to another dish.
All these components can be prepared ahead of time and refrigerated for later use. When ready, re-heat the chilled eggplant (microwave for 30 seconds or return to oven). Cut the baguette on a diagonal to make oval, 1/4-inch-thick slices. Brush both sides with olive oil using a pastry brush and place on foil-lined baking sheet; toast in 400 F (200 C) oven for about 4 minutes or until nicely toasted on one side, then flip to the other side and cook another 3 to 4 minutes.
Spread the cheese over the toasted bread, then top with the eggplant, tomato slices and parsley. Drizzle with additional good olive oil and serve.