Even though, the chill of winter still blows through the Cape, the prospect of long summer nights is on the horizon with every passing day. So in celebration of the coming summer, I am going to share a mouthwatering delight – perfectly enjoyed with a crisp glass of wine or ice cold beer.
Bruschetta is a hearty appetizer from central Italy whose origin dates to at least the 15th century. It consists of grilled bread, rubbed with garlic and topped with extra-virgin olive oil, salt and pepper. Variations may include toppings of spicy red pepper, tomato, vegetables, beans, cured meat, and/or cheese; the most popular recipe outside of Italy involves basil, fresh tomato, garlic and onion or mozzarella. Here is a typical Sicilian take on this simple toastie…
2 large eggplants
Extra-virgin olive oil
Freshly ground black pepper
1 loaf ciabatta bread
4 tomatoes, diced
1 bunch fresh basil
280g ricotta salata, thinly slice
Prepare a charcoal grill for direct-heat cooking over medium-hot charcoal or medium-high heat for gas.
Prick eggplants with a fork; grill, covered, turning once, until blackened and very soft, about 40 minutes. Transfer to a cutting board, slice open and, using a large spoon, scrape flesh into blender or food processor. With machine running, add 3 tablespoons oil to taste until smooth and combined. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Slice bread into 20 pieces, each about 12mm thick. Grill on both sides and transfer to platter.
Spread eggplant puree onto bread. Top with tomato, basil leaves and ricotta salata. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and drizzle with oil.
Now all that’s left is to crack open a frosty, put on some Café Del Mar and watch the sun go down…can you feel it?