You know what makes me happy in the summer? Caprese Bruschetta with Crispy Eggplant…
…and so much more…watching electrical storms from indoors by candle light…long bike rides on meandering paths surrounded by wild flowers…coffee and its aroma with a curl of steam enjoyed outdoors before the rest of the world wakes up…sweet tea…warm summer winds that create choreography for boughs and their heavy blossoms…Dom’s extra minty mojitos…gorgeous farmers’ market finds…fresh basil propped in a Ball jar resting on a windowsill…James Taylor…petite lemon-colored birds frolicking just outside the kitchen window…sunshine…juicy tomato and mayonnaise sandwiches…
It dawned on me the other day that finally the first day of summer was upon us, and I think I let out a little squeal. I used to think that fall was my favorite season, but the older I get, summer is giving fall a good run for its money. This has everything to do with the effect that sunshine has on me. It’s pretty easy to wake up each morning to sunlight slicing through the spaces between the curtains. Don’t get me wrong, grey moody days have their place too, but what sunshine does for the soul is pretty astonishing. I’ll take it.
I’ve been looking forward to ‘this’ post…my Summer Bruschetta post, since sharing my Spring Bruschetta made with Sweet Pea Pesto, Prosciutto and Asparagus and my Fall Bruschetta made with Figs, Prosciutto and Arugula. (I just realized this is the first one that I haven’t added prosciutto to!)
But honestly, what could be better than:
- Dense artisan bread sliced to fit comfortably in your hand, toasted and seasoned with fresh garlic and olive oil then loaded with the flavors of summer.
- Diced heirloom cherry tomatoes, fresh basil, creamy mozzarella and eggplant.
- Eggplant sliced thin and encased in a healthy crunch born from cornmeal, flour, and Pecorino.
- Molten mozzarella. Yep. Molten mozzarella.
Here’s the thing about this Caprese Bruschetta with Crispy Eggplant…with my first bite, the first word that came to mind was ‘nostalgic’. If someone were to ask me what ‘nostalgia’ tastes like, this would be it.
The only thing missing from this table is a stemless glass of red wine or two. It came to me too late.
What tastes like ‘nostalgia’ to you? I’d love to know!
- 1 medium eggplant, sliced lengthwise into 6 or more slices about ¼-inch thick
- 1 tsp. kosher salt
- ⅓ cup finely grated Pecorino-Romano cheese plus more for sprinkling
- ⅓ cup cornmeal
- ⅓ cup flour
- 1 - 2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
- ½ cup olive oil plus 3 Tbsp.
- 3 cloves garlic, peeled and ends cut
- Six ¾-inch thick slices of dense crusty bread
- 2 cups heirloom cherry tomatoes, chopped
- 1 cup chopped fresh mozzarella
- A handful of basil leaves cut chiffonade
- Place the eggplant on a baking sheet. Sprinkle both sides of each piece with salt.
- Set aside for 20 minutes.
- In the meantime, combine cheese, cornmeal, flour and black pepper in a shallow bowl. (I used a pie plate.)
- In a large heavy-bottomed skillet, heat ½ cup olive oil over medium-high heat.
- Dredge the eggplant in the cheese mixture, making sure both sides are well coated; lightly tap off any excess.
- Without crowding the pan, carefully slide the pieces into the oil and fry until browned on both sides, about 6 minutes. (You may need to do two batches, in which case use ¼ cup of oil for each batch.)
- Transfer to a plate lined with paper towels.
- For the bruschetta, either toast the bread or grill it until golden.
- Remove the toast from the heat and rub both sides of the bread with the cut side of garlic.
- Next, drizzle the remaining olive oil over each piece.
- Lay a piece of eggplant on each piece of toast.
- Sprinkle chopped tomatoes over top, some basil, salt and pepper to taste.
- Sprinkle chopped mozzarella on tomatoes, pop under the broiler until cheese is melty and golden.
- Sprinkle more basil over top and an extra sprinkle of black pepper and grated Pecorino-Romano.
Forgot to pin? No worries!