EGGPLANT BRUSCETTA TOPPER

  • 2lbs classic Black King Italian eggplant, peeled to leave 1″ stripes and cut into 1″ thick cubes
  • Cheap olive oil or vegetable oil
  • 1 cubanelle pepper, thinly sliced
  • 1 small Spanish onion, sliced
  • 3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 4 sprigs thyme, destemmed
  • 1/8 cup red wine vinegar
  • ¼ cup golden raisins
  • 1/8 cup pine nuts
  • Salt, sugar (or honey) and pepper, to taste
  • 1 good, crusty baguette, sliced, brushed with olive oil and toasted
  • Line a large rimmed baking sheet with paper towels. Arrange the eggplant

    slices in a single layer on the paper towels and sprinkle them with salt. Let

    stand for 1 hour. Pat the eggplant dry with paper towels. Rinse and dry

    thoroughly.

    In a large, heavy bottomed pan, heat the oil over medium high. If you don’t

    have a thermometer, you can test the heat of the oil by dropping slices of

    onion in – when it’s ready, tiny bubbles will form around the edges. Once

    it’s good and hot, add the eggplant in batches if necessary and fry for about

    3-4 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the eggplant to fresh paper

    towels to drain.

    Pour all but about a tablespoon of the oil off of the pan you used for frying

    (using an empty coffee can is good for this) and replace the pot over heat.

    Add the thyme, peppers, onion and garlic to the skillet and cook over

    moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until they begin to lose their shape,

    about 6-8 minutes, seasoning with salt and pepper, sugar or honey to taste

    along the way, until everything coalesces into a nice, thick sauce.

    Return the eggplant to the skillet, stir gently to coat and cook for 3

    minutes, or until combined. Stir in the red wine vinegar and simmer for 1

    minute. Remove from the heat. Taste for seasoning, adding salt or vinegar

    as needed. Let cool to room temperature, or refrigerate until lightly

    chilled, about 20 minutes, then stir in your golden raisins and pine nuts

    before serving atop crostini toasts.

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