These bbq Eggplant bruschetta bites are a great party food or tapas nights with friends and make for a nice light summer meal.
Appetizers are one of our favorite courses to have. There are times Nicoletta and I have dinner or lunch consisting of various appetizer dishes, things like hummus, olives, spring or salad rolls, caprese salad, assorted Italian cold cuts and cheeses, grilled vegetables, etc. Tonight the featured dish is a vegetable that I so enjoy preparing and brings many memories back to key events in my life. A recipe that was always prepared for celebrations like first communion, or confirmation, traditions in the roman catholic faith, was Eggplant Parmigiana.
I remember my confirmation celebration, we had gone to a local popular Italian restaurant called The Italian Gardens, praised as one of the best! It was like a scene of the movie the Godfather, the lighting low, echoes of Italian being spoken throughout the restaurant, people hugging kissing, a few ear twists from good old Italian moms keeping their children in line and grandmas trying to save the grandkids the strife. At the front, the owner of the restaurant dressed in a hand tailored black pinstripe suit, sitting watching making sure everyone is being taken care of. This was our life. It's funny when you think back on it. The eggplant sliced thin coated in an egg wash and flour then back into the egg wash and into some beautifully seasoned bread crumbs. Off to a nice pan heated very well with some canola oil, fried to nice golden crispy brown, then layered with tomato sauce, cheese. My mom loving substance in food would do about ten layers. Not a diet center meal, but a feast to two hungry Italian boys and a blessing at these functions. These days we don't eat that heavy, and having learned true Italian regional cooking stuck to the tradition on this recipe but keeping it small and appetizer like. Here is my take on eggplant parmigiana, a bit deconstructed, Eggplant Bruschetta Bites.
Making Eggplant Bruschetta Bites:
Eggplant tossed in extra virgin olive oil, herbs and spices, nicely grilled on the barbeque. Sprinkled with shredded gruyere cheese and topped with grape tomatoes also tossed in olive oil and herbs, oven roasted to a sweet goodness. We usually use the grape tomatoes as they are less acidic than the cherry ones and also are sweeter. You can use different cheeses like Provolone, Gouda, Taleggio, Asiago. The flavor of these bites amazing smoky from the bbq, earthy from the herb oil spice compilation, a bit pungent from the melted cheese and roasted tomatoes , and that great mouth sensation you get from the grilled eggplant. This can be a one biter but I love to savor the flavor and just feast on every bite. These are a great thing for those tapas nights with friends and make for a nice light meal.
Enjoy and Buon Appetito!Print
- 1 medium eggplant, sliced in circles 1 cm thick
- 15 grape tomatoes, halved
- 1 cup grated gruyere cheese
- 1 teaspoon dry oregano
- 1 teaspoon fresh basil, minced
- 1 teaspoon fresh parsley, minced
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin cold pressed olive oil
- 1 tablespoon coarse sea salt
- 1 teaspoon crushed black pepper
- Peel strips of eggplant skin lengthwise to create a striped effect.
- Cut crosswise about 1 cm thick creating nice circle pieces.
- Take eggplant slices and sprinkle with coarse sea salt in layers making sure to get each one. Let sit for 30 minutes.
- Shake off excess salt and place eggplant slices in between a tea towel and press out liquid.
- Toss eggplant slices with 2 tablespoons olive oil and ½ of the basil oregano and parsley.
- Take grape tomatoes wash and slice in halves.
- Toss with 1 tablespoon olive oil and the rest of the herbs, and salt and pepper to taste.
- Place tomato halves on a baking sheet with parchment paper and bake for 30 minute in a 350°F oven.
- Preheat grill to 400°F.
- Place eggplant on grill till grill marks form and rotate to make hash marks roughly 2 minutes per side.
- When eggplant is just about finished, sprinkle with grated gruyere cheese and place three halves of the grape tomatoes on each eggplant slice.
- I usually turn half the grill off and place the eggplant on the indirect heat side to finish the cooking process or until the cheese is melted, preventing the eggplant from burning.
- Sprinkle with some chopped fresh parsley.
- Plate and serve warm.