Crunchy grilled toasts topped with garlicky Mediterranean roasted eggplant and tomatoes, dressed with salty cheese shards and sweet balsamic glaze. Hello, world! Meet your new favorite appetizer.
If you are an eggplant fan, get ready to fall in love. If you don't think you're an eggplant fan, get ready to convert.
Today's recipe brings big Mediterranean flavors to our tables with style and flair. Roasting the eggplant cubes in a nearly dry pan gives us the chance to add roasted garlic oil later in the process, when the eggplant have passed their sponge phase, and they can take on the flavor without absorbing the oil. Blistered tomatoes add the perfect natural sweetness and acidity to the veggie mixture.
The toppings, as usual, are critical to the bruschetta experience. Balsamic glaze, fresh basil and sharp parmesan make this easy recipe impressive and memorable.
What you need to make Mediterranean Roasted Eggplant Bruschetta:
- grape tomatoes
- extra virgin olive oil
- garlic cloves
- coarse sea salt and ground black pepper
- chili flake, optional
- fresh basil
- parmesan cheese
- balsamic vinegar glaze
Step by step instructions for this roasted eggplant bruschetta:
Begin by preheating the oven to 425 degrees.
Wash and dry the eggplant, then dice into about ½ inch pieces.
Spray a sheet pan with olive oil cooking spray. Arrange eggplant pieces in a single layer on one side of the pan. Add the pint of grape or cherry tomatoes to the other side of the baking sheet.
Sprinkle with a teaspoon of coarse sea salt and a few cracks of black pepper. Add the baking tray to the hot oven and bake for 20-25 minutes, until the eggplant are golden brown and cooked through and the tomatoes have browned and burst. Remove from oven and set aside.
A note about eggplant
For most eggplant recipes, I recommend cutting the eggplant, then laying the eggplant slices out on a layer of paper towel. Generously sprinkle with kosher salt and let them sit for 10 minutes. This will help remove the bitter flavor.
In testing this recipe, I found that roasting the eggplant and then tossing it in the garlic olive oil dressing removed most of the bitterness. I'm not including the salting and drying step here, but if you are determined to keep the step and rid your kitchen of any risk of bitter taste, I won't stand in your way.
For the balsamic glaze:
If you purchased balsamic glaze, move on to the dressing and assembly, but if you're making glaze at home, add half a cup of balsamic vinegar to a small saucepan. Heat over medium high and simmer for 7-10 minutes, stirring often. The vinegar will reduce by about half into a sweet glaze for topping the bruschetta toasts.
Next, we will make the dressing. Heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil in medium sized pan over medium-low heat. Add 8 cloves of sliced garlic and cook gently for 4-5 minutes or until they are very tender, but not browned.
Add the roasted eggplant and blistered tomatoes into the pan with the garlic and oil. Toss to coat, taste and adjust seasoning. Remove from heat.
Brush 16 slices of baguette with the remaining tablespoon of olive oil and a pinch of salt and toast in a hot grill pan or cast iron skillet.
Top each slice of toasted bread with 2-3 tablespoons of the roasted eggplant mixture, followed by the shredded basil, parmesan cheese, and a drizzle of balsamic glaze.
Serve warm or room temperature.
What kind of eggplant work best in this recipe?
A large globe eggplant is what I had in mind while testing this recipe. This variety generally produces large eggplants and are known as American eggplants. Japanese or Italian eggplant - smaller varieties - would also work well in this Mediterranean eggplant recipe. When buying eggplant, try to avoid soft spots on the outside of the eggplant as it can be a sign of an aging veggie that may be more bitter than their fresh counterparts.
Can I add any more vegetables to the roasted mixture for the bruschetta?
This recipe calls for about 6 cups of raw vegetables (eggplant and tomato), so keeping that measurement in mind, feel free to improvise. A red onion, green bell pepper or roasted red peppers would be delicious and take the dish in a romesco salad direction. You could also vary the fresh herbs, adding fresh parsley, oregano or chives to top your creation.
Serving suggestions for leftovers:
Toss the leftover Mediterranean roasted eggplant bruschetta recipe into warm pasta and top with basil and parmesan for a stunner of a main course, or leave off the cheese for a vegan pasta main dish.
Make an eggplant salad topped with tuna for a great salad lunch.
Fold extra roasted eggplant into an omelette or frittata for a brunch.
Heat and eat this roasted eggplant as a veggie side dish with your next grilled seafood dinner.
The final great option is to throw your leftover roasted eggplant and tomato mixture in the food processor with an extra tablespoon of olive oil and some lemon zest, pulse until mostly smooth. Top the Mediterranean roasted eggplant dip with kalamata olives and feta cheese, and serve it with pita chips or toasted baguette slices.
The possibilities are endless with this versatile dish!
Store roasted eggplant mixture once it has fully cooled in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.Print