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Bruschetta with Grilled Eggplant & Vidalia Onion

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Serves six to eight as an appetizer or “small plate.”

  • 1 medium eggplant (1 to 1-1/4 lb.)
  • 1 medium-large (about 12 oz.) Vidalia onion (or other sweet variety, like Texas Sweet or Walla Walla)
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 2 tsp. fresh thyme leaves, chopped
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil; more for the bread
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
  • About 1/2 baguette, sliced diagonally into 1/2-inch-thick slices

Prepare a medium-hot grill fire.

Trim off 1/2 inch from the top and bottom of the eggplant. Cut the eggplant lengthwise into 1/2-inch-thick slices. Cut the onion crosswise into 1/2-inch-thick slices. To keep the rings together, insert toothpicks or small skewers horizontally through the rings of each slice.

In a small saucepan over medium-high heat, bring the cream, garlic, and thyme to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer gently until the cream has reduced by half, 3 to 5 minutes. Remove from the heat.

When the grill is ready, brush both sides of the eggplant and onion slices with the 1/4 cup olive oil. Arrange the vegetables on the grill and cook with the lid closed until the first sides have started to soften and get grill marks, 2 to 3 minutes for the eggplant and 5 to 6 minutes for the onion. Flip and cook the second sides with the lid closed until the eggplant is tender and the onion is nicely charred but not necessarily fully tender, 2 to 3 minutes more for the eggplant and 5 to 6 minutes more for the onion. Transfer the eggplant to a cutting board and sprinkle with 1/4 tsp. kosher salt and 1/4 tsp. pepper. Transfer the onion to a large sheet of foil, stack the slices, wrap tightly, and let rest until residual heat has softened the onion, about 5 minutes.

Remove the skewers from the onion slices. Coarsely chop the eggplant and onion and combine in a medium bowl. Add the cream mixture and the Parmigiano; stir to combine. Taste and add salt and pepper as needed. Brush the bread slices on both sides with oil and grill until lightly golden brown, 30 seconds to 1 minute per side. Top each slice with a generous dollop of the eggplant mixture.

nutrition information (per serving):
Size : based on eight servings; Calories (kcal): 230; Fat (g): 13; Fat Calories (kcal): 110; Saturated Fat (g): 4.5; Protein (g): 4; Monounsaturated Fat (g): 7; Carbohydrates (g): 26; Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 1; Sodium (mg): 380; Cholesterol (mg): 20; Fiber (g): 4;

Photo: Scott Phillips

I made this at one of my parties and frankly it was too heavy as an appetizer. My friends tend to eat lighter and healthier.

Had this last night at a friends house, it was the bomb. Instead of serving it as an appetizer we had it as the main course. Instead of smaller bread pieces, each diner had their own 1/2 sub-type roll. It made for a fine meal.

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