The perfect starter, a meal in itself
1 1/4 pounds eggplant
1 tablespoon salt
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 round loaf of country bread
1 large garlic clove, cut
freshly ground sea salt to taste
freshly ground black pepper to taste
6 ounces prosciutto, sliced very thin
2 tablespoons very finely chopped fresh parsley
1. Slice the eggplant into 12 rounds. Sprinkle the salt over them, place them in a colander, weight them, and let sit over a bowl for 1 hour.
2. Prepare a charcoal fire. When ready to cook, remove the eggplant slices from the colander, and wipe off excess moisture and salt with a towel. Brush each side of the eggplant slices with the extra-virgin olive oil. Grill them, turning once, for 10 to 15 minutes, or until they're brown on the outside and soft on the inside. Reserve.
3. Cut the bread into 6 slices, and halve the slices (each half slice should be a little larger than the eggplant slices). Brush very lightly with extra-virgin olive oil on both sides, and grill the bread for about 2 minutes, turning once. Remove from the fire, and rub each slice on one side with the cut clove of garlic. Turn that side up, and brush it with a little more extra-virgin olive oil.
4. When ready to serve, place a slice of eggplant on a slice of bread, and spread roughly with a knife. Top with a little freshly ground sea salt and a little freshly ground black pepper. Repeat with all of the bread and eggplant. Cut the prosciutto into slices that fit neatly over the eggplant, and drape the slices over the 12 bruschette. Top with parsley, and serve.
The perfect starter, or add a green salad and a glass of red wine to make a meal. Makes 12 bruschette.