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Frugal Healthy Recipe: Eggplant Bruschette

By Marissa Bognanno, Professional Chef and Foodie, and Author of The Boot Blog

Each region of Italy has its own deep rooted culinary history, and sometimes these food traditions vary even from town to town. Italy wasn't always a unified country though, in fact, it's only been 150 years that Italians consider themselves Italian and not Romano or Pugliese or Siciliano.

Because of that, each region hangs onto its traditions, whether they be folklore, dialect, or food related. Puglia has one of the most distinct and delicious cuisines in all of Italy (in my humble opinion) and I still have yet to taste all of the delicacies of this region. From fresh cheeses that really aren't as good anywhere else (creamy burrata, stracciatella, ricotta) to the seafood that practically leaps out of the Ionian sea's waters (huge prawns, mussels, tender white fish and the beloved sea urchins) to the "peasant food" that has become so popular in five star restaurants (fava beans, chick peas, chicory, swiss chard, broccoli rabe).

I would love to show you some typical, traditional Pugliese recipes here on the blog, and I hope it will give you new insight into the wide range that is Italy's cuisine.

Yesterday I made these amazing fried eggplant "bruschette" from the cookbook that Manu surprised me with. The eggplant serves as the bruschetta bread, (genius, right?) and I think these would be so great as an appetizer before a dinner party, or as a side dish at dinner!

Eggplant Bruschette
by Vincenzo Portaccio from the book, Puglia: Ricette, Ristoranti, Vini
1 eggplant (a big one can get you about 10 slices)
1 egg
salt + pepper
a handful of cherry tomatoes
Cut the eggplant into about 1 cm thick slices. Beat the egg adding a pinch of salt. Dip the eggplant in the egg and then the breadcrumbs. Fry them in oil into they become golden brown. (Make sure the oil in the pan sizzles before you drop the eggplant in.) Dry the eggplant on paper towels before serving with the tomatoes on top, another pinch of salt and pepper and some fresh chopped basil.

Manu always jokes that I never save him leftovers of my creations (not true) but yesterday he got a few of these babies and said they were, "incredibili!" So there you go. And spoken from a true Pugliese, I'll take it as a compliment. :)

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