Eggplant Crostini


Eggplant Crostini

Serves 4 to 6

This eggplant dish is warm and bright. It works well as a starter or as a light meal, served with a side of greens. The roasting technique is inspired by a method from London-based chef Yotam Ottolenghi.


For the eggplant
3 to 4 (about 3 1/2 pounds / 1.6 kg total) eggplants
4 tablespoons (60 ml) olive oil
1/2 tablespoon salt
Freshly ground black pepper

For the tahini spread
3/4 cup (180 ml) tahini
1/2 garlic clove
Juice of 1 lemon
4 tablespoons (60 ml) olive oil

For the black garlic dressing
3 black garlic cloves, peeled
1 teaspoon black sesame paste
1 teaspoon pomegranate molasses
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1/2 teaspoon sumac
1/2 teaspoon unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons olive oil

For the toast
1 loaf miche, cut into slices 1/2 inch (12 mm) thick
1/4 cup (60 ml) olive oil
1/2 cup (75 g) Pickled Red Onion
1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted
1/4 cup (10 g) fresh basil leaves, torn

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Cut each eggplant into half lengthwise, and cut each half into half widthwise. Cut each quarter into thirds to create thick wedges. In a large bowl, toss the wedges with the olive oil, salt, and some pepper. Arrange the wedges on two parchment-lined baking sheets and roast until golden and slightly crisp, but not dry, 35 to 40 minutes.

For the tahini spread: Combine the tahini, garlic, lemon juice, and olive oil in a food processor and blend until smooth. The mixture should be spreadable, but not overly thick. If you wish to thin your tahini, add a thin stream of up to 1/2 cup (120 ml) ice water to the mixture with the motor running until your desired consistency is reached, set aside.

For the black garlic dressing: Pulse the garlic, sesame paste, molasses, lemon juice, sumac, cocoa powder, and salt in a food processor to form a paste. With the motor running, add the olive oil in a slow and steady stream until completely incorporated.

Remove the eggplant from the oven and, while still warm, gently toss it in a large bowl with the black garlic dressing until completely coated. Set it aside to let the flavors meld.

For the toast: Heat a grill to medium-high or a grill pan over medium-high heat. Brush each slice of bread with the olive oil and toast for about 2 minutes on each side, until lightly brown.

To serve, spread each piece of toast with a bit of the tahini spread and top with a few wedges of warm eggplant. Garnish with pickled red onions, a sprinkling of pine nuts, and basil leaves.

Recipe from Simple Fare Spring / Summer
Photography by Maureen M. Evans