Appetizer & First Course, Vegetarian
1 eggplant, diced
1/2 Tbs kosher salt
5 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 small red onion, diced
1 tsp dried thyme , divided
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
1 zucchini, diced
1 yellow squash, diced
1 red pepper, diced
1 tsp tomato paste
8-ounce can diced tomatoes with juice
1 bay leaf
1 bunch fresh basil, coarsely chopped
Kosher salt & freshly ground pepper, to taste
Crostini, recipe follows
Sprinkle eggplant with 1/2 tablespoon kosher salt & set in a colander for 10 minutes; squeeze liquid out of eggplant with a kitchen towel.
Heat large saute pan over medium-high heat; drizzle in 1 tablespoon of the olive oil. Stir in onion, a pinch of salt and thyme; saute until golden brown and just softened. Add garlic; saute for 20 seconds, until fragrant. Transfer mixture to a medium bowl; set aside.
Return pan to heat and drizzle in another tablespoon of olive oil. Saute eggplant until golden brown; transfer to bowl with onions. Repeat saute process with zucchini, squash and peppers.
Return pan to heat and stir in tomato paste; cook for 30 seconds. Stir in tomatoes and bay leaf; cook until liquid has reduced by half. Return vegetables to pot and stir in half the basil.
Reduce heat to low and cover pot with tight-fitting lid; stew for 15-20 minutes to combine flavors, stirring occasionally. Stir in remaining basil and season to taste with salt & pepper.
Serve with crostini.
1 French baguette
Approximately 3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
Preheat oven to 350°. Slice baguette into 1/2" slices. Brush each with olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Place on baking tray and bake until golden and crisp.