Serves 4 to 6 as bar bites
Eggplant rounds serve here as mini-pizzas, flavored with the smoky, sweet undertones of barbecue sauce, balsamic vinegar, and sun dried tomatoes. Pecan bits, toasted on a blanket of melting cheese, add a satisfying, crunchy bite. For a bread-like complement, serve with long, thin grissini (Italian breadsticks), stuck in a tall, narrow glass.
Use a barbecue sauce on the sweet and smoky side (I prefer Stubb's Smokey Mesquite Bar-B-Q Sauce). If you use oil-packed sun dried tomatoes, instead of dry-packed ones, you can skip microwaving the sauce to reconstitute the tomatoes.
1. Preheat the broiler. Line a baking sheet with foil and lightly spritz with nonstick spray.
2. Stir together the tomatoes, barbecue sauce, and vinegar in a microwave safe container. Partially cover (to prevent splattering) and microwave on high 60 seconds, stirring half way through, to soften the tomatoes.
3. Slice the eggplant into 1/2-inch-thick rounds. Arrange the slices in a single layer on the baking sheet. Brush the oil on both sides of each slice. Broil 5 to 6 inches from the heat, for 5 to 7 minutes, until the pieces start to brown. Flip the rounds over and broil another 5 to 7 minutes, until the pieces are mostly cooked through and easily pierced with a fork, but not mushy.
4. Smear a bit of the sauce on each slice. Cover with the cheese, casually tearing the slices with your fingers to fit (pieces can overlap). Sprinkle the shallot over the cheese and top with the pecan pieces.
5. Broil for 3 to 5 minutes more, until the cheese softens and gently melts (watch closely so the pecans don't burn). If desired, garnish with fresh mint or basil, and serve.
This page created September 2007
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