Crostini alla Norma
The classic Sicilian pasta sauce of eggplant and tomato makes a hearty topping for summery crostini. Traditionally, the alla norma method involves frying eggplant, but this recipe calls for roasting it, which saves time and requires much less oil. The eggplant and tomato mixture can be made up to two days in advance, which makes this a great dish for entertaining, since it benefits from some extra time for flavors to develop. For an even quicker appetizer, serve in a bowl with toasted baguette slices on the side.
- Serves: 3 persons
- 1large baguette (about 18 inches), cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices
- 5tablespoons olive oil, plus more for brushing
- 1 ½pounds eggplant (about 1 large), cut into 1/2-inch cubes
- 1 ½teaspoons kosher salt, plus more to taste
- 1teaspoon black pepper, plus more to taste
- 1medium yellow onion, chopped
- 2garlic cloves, minced (about 2 teaspoons)
- 1teaspoon dried oregano
- ¼teaspoon red-pepper flakes
- 1 ½pounds medium tomatoes (about 4), cored, seeded and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
- 1 ¼cups thinly sliced fresh basil
- 2teaspoons red wine vinegar
- ¾cup shaved or grated ricotta salata cheese (about 2 ounces), for serving
Step 1Heat the oven to 400 degrees. Arrange the baguette slices on a sheet pan, brush the tops with olive oil, then bake until lightly toasted, 5 to 10 minutes. Transfer to a board or platter and set aside.
Step 2Add the eggplant, 3 tablespoons olive oil, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper to the sheet pan. Toss well and roast, tossing occasionally, until very tender, 20 to 25 minutes.
Step 3When the eggplant is done, in a large (12-inch) skillet, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium-low. Add the onion and cook, tossing occasionally, until the onions are translucent, 6 to 8 minutes. Add the garlic, oregano, red-pepper flakes, 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper and cook just until the garlic is fragrant, about 1 minute.
Step 4Add the cooked eggplant, tomatoes, 1/4 cup basil and the red wine vinegar, and continue to cook over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until the tomatoes have completely fallen apart and the mixture has thickened, about 15 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Step 5Spoon the mixture onto the baguette slices, top with the remaining basil and the ricotta salata, and serve warm or at room temperature.