There are certain recipes that just call out my name in the summertime, especially when I have fresh, organic produce at the tips of my fingers. Take for example, this fresh roasted bruschetta eggplant. A gluten-free twist on the traditional recipe, but just as flavourful.
Over the years I’ve come to realize how beneficial it is to have your own garden. Firstly, it saves you money (especially if you are like me and spend a fortune on fresh, organic fruits and veggies!).
Secondly, you give your family access to fresh, organic, pesticide-free produce.
And thirdly, homegrown just tastes BETTER!
Case in point.
I’ve made this dish a number of times, at home in Canada (with store-bought produce) and here in Sardinia, with fresh produce from our garden. The difference in flavour is uncomparable!
The slightly bitter aftertaste of the eggplant is toned by the sweet tomatoes and fresh basil. It’s like eating a piece of eggplant Parmesan, without all the extra cheese (and calories!).
This side dish also doubles as a main for vegetarians or vegans and it lends perfectly to baby’s diet too…just puree to create a fresh, healthy pasta sauce!
(Serves 4-6 as a side dish)
2 medium eggplants
2 cups cherry tomatoes, finely diced
4-5 fresh basil leaves, finely minced
1 garlic clove, finely minced
2-3 tbs. extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
Parmesan, freshly grated (optional)
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Prepare the bruschetta by mixing the tomatoes, garlic, basil, 1 tbs. of olive oil, and salt and pepper in a medium bowl. Let sit for 5-10 minutes to allow the flavours to amalgamate.
*TIP: The salt will draw the water out of the tomatoes, which will be perfect for drizzling over the eggplant.
Cut off the stems of the eggplants then slice thinly (about 1/4 inch thick) lengthwise. Place on a large baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Score each piece diagonally (both ways) about halfway through the eggplant (as pictured).
Lightly garnish eggplant with salt and pepper then top each piece of eggplant with about 2 tbs. of the bruschetta mixture and spread evenly over the eggplant. If desired, drizzle 1-2 tbs. of olive oil over the eggplant and garnish with grated Parmesan.
Bake for 30-35 minutes or until the eggplant are fork tender and lightly browned around the edges.
Set aside to cool for a few minutes before serving, if desired. These also taste great at room temperature!
Garnish with freshly chopped basil, if desired.