#fruitsveggiesandfreedom : Eggplant Bruschetta with House-Roasted Peppers

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We are excited to introduce you to our third blogger in the #fruitsveggiesandfreedom series – Christine Pittman of Cook the Story Blog. While Christine doesn’t hail from the state of Georgia she does however reside in one of our neighboring states, Florida. Her passion for fruit and vegetables runs deep as she is a brand ambassador for several regional and national brands including Produce for Kids. Christine’s Pinterest Board titled “Eat Your Veggies” is named appropriately for what she enjoys to write about most. We are honored that she wanted to come on board with us and share a very creative twist on traditional bruschetta using in-season eggplant. 

**Christine has received compensation for her time and efforts in creating this post. However, all thoughts and opinions are Christine’s.


Isn’t summertime just plain great? We had a party for the 4th of July this year. It was a blast to sit out in the sun (blast, as in blast-of-heat, yowzers!) with friends and watch our kids splash away in the pool. There were tons of fireworks in the evening and everyone had a really great time.

The way we made this party easy on ourselves was to ask our friends to each bring some food to share with everyone. We grilled up some ribs and chicken and left the rest to luck. And lucky we were! Our friends came through and brought all kinds of goodies. What I loved about it was how many fresh items, bursting with summer’s fruits and veggies, found their way into my friends’ dishes. Good job you guys!

One of our friends brought an interesting bruschetta-type mixture. I love that kind of thing piled onto toasted bread. But, as I was eating it and gushing over all the fresh veggies on the table, I started wondering if the bread was necessary. Could something else stand in for it? A vegetable, perhaps?

The idea for grilled eggplant as a bruschetta base (or as the base for any canapé) was born.

For this recipe, you cut the eggplant fairly thick, around ¾-inch. That’s so they don’t end up limp and mushy after cooking them. You need them to hold their shape so you can pick them up and smoosh them into your mouth.

You brush the eggplant slices with olive oil on both sides, season with salt and pepper and then grill them for 3 to 4 minutes per side, spinning them by 90 degrees halfway through each time to get those nice hashtag grill marks.

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Then you let those cool while you get your topping ready.

You can do any kind of bruschetta-type topping. Instead of using the traditional tomatoes here, we decided to roast our own red bell peppers and use those. We did ours under the broiler. You put them on a pan really close to the heat source.

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Then you let those cool while you get your topping ready.

You can do any kind of bruschetta-type topping. Instead of using the traditional tomatoes here, we decided to roast our own red bell peppers and use those. We did ours under the broiler. You put them on a pan really close to the heat source.

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Peel those peppers. It’s easiest to do in a bowl of water. The skins come off easier and the black bits wash away. Note that if some skin doesn’t come off or if some black bits remain, that’s ok.

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Once you have your peppers peeled, dice them. Mix with some chopped basil, garlic, olive oil, salt and pepper. Then pile it onto the eggplant rounds.

They’re good to go just like that. But I was in an indulgent mood. Whap! In comes burrata on top of each one. It’s basically fresh mozzarella that’s been stuffed with cream. Yes, really. It’s mild and oozing and the creaminess goes so well with the fresh vegetables. You’re going to just plain love it all.

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Enjoy the rest of your summer!

-Christine


Recipe:

Recipe time: 35 minutes

Serves: 6

Ingredients:

  • 2 red bell peppers
  • 1 medium eggplant
  • Olive oil
  • Salt
  • Coarse black pepper
  • 5 large basil leaves, chopped
  • 1 small clove garlic
  • 1 ball of burrata cheese

Instructions:

  1. Preheat broiler and adjust oven rack so that it is as close to heat source as possible. Put bell peppers on a sturdy baking sheet and under the broiler for 15-20 minutes, turning peppers over every few minutes until they are blackened all over the outsides.
  2. Put peppers in a medium bowl and cover with plastic wrap to steam for 10 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, trim ends off eggplant and slice into 6 ¾-inch slices. Brush each side of each slice of eggplant with ½ teaspoon of olive oil. Sprinkle each side with a pinch of salt and a grind of black pepper.
  4. Preheat grill to medium. Add eggplant slices. Grill for 3-4 minutes per side, spinning halfway through on each side to get hashtag grill marks. Remove from grill and allow to cool.
  5. Put peppers is a small bowl with about 1 cup of water. Use fingers to remove peel, letting the water help to wash away the black specks. It’s ok if some bits of peel and flakes of black remain.
  6. In a medium bowl combine peppers with basil, garlic, ¼ teaspoon of salt and ¼ teaspoon of coarse black pepper. Pile mixture onto the eggplant rounds. Cut burrata into 6 pieces and use a spoon to scoop each one and it onto a mound of red pepper.

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