To create this dish, we looked at plant-based food items that had global and local appeal. The ricotta, from a local cheesemaker, has a rich, natural sweetness that complements the roasted eggplant. The addition of a small salad, roasted tomatoes and a crostini from a local artisan baker make this dish very special.
6 oz. extra virgin olive oil
10 sprigs oregano
10 sprigs thyme
1 tbsp. kosher salt
Pepper, to taste
5 large eggplants
1 French baguette
15 plum tomatoes
10 basil leaves
20 oz. hand-dipped ricotta
2 cups arugula
- On a half sheet pan, put 1/2 ounce olive oil, along with oregano, thyme, salt and pepper. Cut eggplant in half (do not cross the meat nor cut the ends); place meat-side down on pan and rub. Let rest 1/2 hour, then cook at 350 F for 28 minutes. Set aside until service.
- Slice in baguette a long bias, about 6 inch; brush with olive oil, salt and pepper; then cook for 12 minutes at 350 F.
- Cut tomatoes in half and roast at 450 F or higher, until they blister and are slightly burnt; set aside for service.
- Roughly chop basil and mix slowly into ricotta. Add salt and pepper to taste and keep cold.
- Turn eggplant meat-side up, then cook for 12 minutes at 450 F or higher, until meat is golden bronzed.
- For service: Season arugula with 1/4 ounce olive oil. Place half eggplant down first, then add a spoon of ricotta, three charred tomatoes and a baguette. Serve with arugula salad.
Yield: 10 servings