Sicilian Eggplant Crostini

Fancy appetizer, delicious snack, light lunch, hearty side. However you look at it, these crostini are where it’s at! Some crushed red pepper, green olives, eggplant and fresh tomato… it’s really something. A few bites, and it’s on to the next one. They taste amazing straight out of the oven or after several hours chilling in the fridge. Because of this, they are great for entertaining and can be served at any time of year. This recipe makes ~20 crostini.

A few notes.. I used Kite Hill Almond Milk Ricotta for this recipe. If you have trouble finding it or prefer to make your own, this recipe works great. You can also skip the almond ricotta entirely, if you don’t favor vegan cheeses. While you can substitute some dried herbs, fresh herbs work best. In place of the fresh herbs, you can use 2 tsp dried basil, and 1 tsp dried oregano. And while it will work, it won’t be as good as using fresh herbs. I diced up some whole green olives for this recipe, but you could also use capers (maybe a Tbsp).

Finally, I used store bought reduced balsamic vinegar for this recipe. I really like Rachael Ray’s Balsamic Drizzle. It’s easy to find at large supermarkets, like Safeway. It tastes awesome on salads. In short, I have had a lot of use for it, and really enjoy the flavor. If you want to use balsamic vinegar that you already have on hand, you can also very easily make your own!

Sicilian Eggplant Crostini

1 large eggplant, diced into small cubes (~6 cups)

Olive oil, to drizzle

Reduced balsamic vinegar, to drizzle (use store bought or make your own) – see note above

1 large baguette, sliced on a bias

1 cup fresh tomatoes, small dice

1/4 cup green olives, coarsely chopped

1/4 cup fresh basil, torn into small pieces

3 garlic cloves, finely chopped

2 Tbsp flat leaf parsley

1 Tbsp fresh oregano leaves

1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes

Salt and black pepper

1 cup almond ricotta (store bought or make your own) – see note above

  1. Preheat the oven to 400º F. Line a large cookie sheet with parchment paper, and set aside. In a large mixing bowl, add the eggplant. Drizzle some olive oil over it, drizzle some balsamic vinegar over it. Season it with salt and pepper. Stir around to combine. If it looks like it isn’t well coated after you stir it, add some more olive oil, balsamic, salt and pepper. Stir some more.

2. Over the parchment paper on the cookie sheet, spread the eggplant out in a single layer. Place in the oven, and bake for 20 minutes. When it finishes roasting, add it back into the mixing bowl, and allow it to cool off while you work on preparing the bread.

3. Line the same cookie sheet that you used for the eggplant with another piece of parchment paper. Turn down the oven to 375º F. Brush the slices of baguette with olive oil on either side, and place on the parchment paper on the cookie sheet. Bake at 375º F for 5 minutes. Keep an eye on them to make sure they do not burn. Remove from oven and set aside to cool.

4. When the eggplant stops steaming and has sufficiently cooled down, add the tomatoes, green olives, basil, garlic, parsley, oregano and crushed red pepper flakes. Mix thoroughly, and then, taste it. If it’s a little flat, drizzle some additional olive oil and balsamic vinegar, and then, season with salt and black pepper.

5. Smear bread slices with almond ricotta.

6. Top the almond ricotta with the eggplant mixture. Bake at 375º F for 8 minutes. Remove from oven, and serve.

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