Roasted Eggplant And Roasted Pepper Antipasto

Two Red Bell Peppers

A Medium Sized Eggplant Peeled And Cut Lengthwise Into 3/4 Inch Thick Slices

1/2 Cup Of Green Olives

1/2 Cup Of Black Olives

Eight Ounces Of Extra Sharp Provolone Cut Into 1/4 Inch Slices

Two Hard Cooked Eggs Cut Into Wedges

Optional- Two Hot Red Cherry Or Jalapeno Peppers

Two Teaspoons Of Balsamic Vinegar, Divided

Four Tablespoons Of Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Divided

Two Teaspoons Of Coarse Sea Salt, Divided

A Teaspoon Of Ground Black Pepper

A Sprig Of Basil For Garnish

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

Place the eggplant slices on a cookie sheet. Brush the eggplant slices with olive oil. Sprinkle the eggplant with sea salt and ground black pepper. Rub the red bell peppers with olive oil and place them on the cookie sheet. If roasting the hot peppers, rub them with olive oil and wrap the hot peppers in aluminum foil. Place the cookie sheet with the eggplant and the red bell peppers into the oven. Place the hot peppers wrapped in aluminum foil into the oven. Roast these vegetables for 20-30 minutes until the eggplant is browned and the skins of the peppers blister and turn dark brown. Remove the vegetables and let them cool for 15 minutes. For best results, place the red bell peppers into a bowl and cover the bowl with plastic wrap.

Peel the charred skins off of the peppers. Remove the stems and most of the seeds. Cut the roasted pepper flesh into one inch strips. Toss the roasted peppers with a teaspoon of balsamic vinegar, a tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil,  1/2 teaspoon of coarse sea salt, and a pinch of ground black pepper. Taste and add more sea salt and/or black pepper, if desired.

Cut the roasted eggplant widthwise into 3/4 inch strips. Toss the eggplant with a teaspoon of balsamic vinegar, a tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil, 1/2 teaspoon of coarse sea salt, and a pinch of black pepper. Taste and add more sea salt and/or black pepper, if desired.

Onto a large platter, arrange the roasted peppers, the eggplant, the green olives, the black olives, the hard cooked eggs, and the provolone cheese. Garnish with a fresh basil sprig.

Serve with a good loaf of Italian bread. This dish can be served as a complete meal or just as an appetizer.

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