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A hearty harvest dish, a meal in itself. Eggplant and colorful bell peppers are grilled 'til soft and sweet, then dressed with fresh Basil and Garlic Italian-style for a zesty fresh vegetable salad that bursts with flavor. Perfect spread onto chewy bread rounds for a wonderful appetizer. ALEPPO PEPPER adds a nice hint of warmth.

  • 4 red bell peppers–about 11/2 lbs
  • 2 large eggplant (4 small)– 2-3 lbs
  • 2 large red-ripe tomatoes
  • 1/4 Cup olive oil
  • 2-3 fresh Garlic cloves
  • 1 small red onion
  • 1/2 Cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 3-4 TB. chopped Fresh Basil Leaves
  • 1 tsp. ALEPPO PEPPER
  • 1/2 tsp. ground BLACK PEPPER
  • 1-2 tsp. salt

Get the grill going. Low even heat is perfect for the eggplant. The bell peppers are best cooked over a little higher heat, so we usually grill those first, then move on to the eggplant. Wash peppers and eggplant. Core the peppers, remove seeds and membrane, and cut into 4-6 large pieces. Peel eggplant, cut off and discard a one inch slice from the top and bottom, then slice eggplant into circles roughly one inch thick. Place pepper and eggplant pieces on baking sheet. Peel and crush up the garlic cloves, mixing them with the olive oil. Drizzle or brush the oil onto both sides ot the eggplant and the non-skin side of the peppers. Grill the peppers for 3-5 minutes per side, then do the same for the eggplant. It is fine for the skin side of the peppers to blacken and blister, as that makes it easier to remove the skin. Eggplants can be a bit tricky, they go from undercooked to very soft pretty quickly, and they can burn if the coals are too hot. Since they'll be mashed up anyway, how they look coming off the grill isn't important. Remove from the grill and let cool. While cooling, dice the tomato and Basil and peel and mince the red onion. Place in a large bowl with the mozzarella cheese, drizzle with balsamic vinegar, add 1 tsp. salt, BLACK PEPPER and ALEPPO PEPPER. Cut up the eggplant into small pieces - or mash it if it got really soft onthe grill, add to the bowl. Peel the skins at least mostly off the peppers using a paring knife. It should be quite easy if the skins blackened during the grilling, running water helps get the skins off if not. Mince the peppers, add to the bowl, toss, taste, adjust seasoning as necessary. Sometimes a bit more olive oil or vinegar and extra salt is nice. Serve with dense crusty french bread to soak up the tasty juices.

Yields: about 8 Cups bruschetta
Prep time: 20 minutes
Cooking time: 20 minutes or so

Black Pepper Shaker Grind 2.1 oz. 1/2 cup jar
Aleppo Pepper 1.9 oz. 1/2 cup jar

© 2003 Penzeys Spices. All rights reserved.