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Bruschetta of Grilled Eggplant with Fresh Mozzarella

We were thumbing through our latest issue of  Cook’s Illustrated this week and landed on a story about developing a recipe for “Really Good Bruschetta.”

The magazine’s “goal”: “We wanted our bruschetta to be full of flavor, easy to eat, and substantial enough to serve as either an appetizer or light entrée,” according to the online version of the magazine. The writer offered smart flavor combinations that don’t require a “bib” to eat.

Here’s another  version developed by our chef friend, John Ash. John’s bruschetta combines two favorite ingredients: grilled eggplant and fresh mozzarella.

Better yet, the bruschetta is topped with a black olive relish that can serve double-duty as a flavorful sauce for pasta.

John says his bruschetta make “a hearty first course or you could cut thinner and smaller crostini out of the bread and serve as an hors d’oeuvre or canapé.”

To make, “roughly” chop the grilled eggplant and place it in a bowl. Mix that with 2 to 3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil, minced garlic, chopped fresh basil, diced ripe tomato, and some balsamic or sherry vinegar.

To make the relish, combine chopped meaty black olives, anchovies, parsley, EVOO, fresh lemon juice, and some red pepper flakes for a little heat.

Place a piece of toast on each plate and then top each with a quarter of the slices of the fresh mozzarella. Spoon a quarter of the eggplant mixture atop the mozzarella.  Add a generous spoonful of the black olive relish on top of that, and serve.

John advises the olive relish is best made an hour or two beforehand to allow the “flavors to develop.”

We’d advise making plenty of extra relish. As John notes, it “makes a delicious simple sauce for pasta.”

Bon appétit,

Claude S. Weiller
Vice President of Sales & Marketing
California Olive Ranch


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