Eggplant and Tomato Crostini

1 small eggplant (about 3/4 pound)
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
12 slices italian or french bread, 1/2 inch thick
1 large ripe tomato, cored and chopped
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
1/2 cup chopped or crumbled ricotta salata or feta cheese (about 3 ounces)

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Place the eggplant on a piece of foil in a small baking pan. Bake for 1 hour, or until the eggplant is very soft. Let cool slightly. Remove the skin. Mash the eggplant pulp to a paste or puree it in a food processor. Add 1 tablespoon of the olive oil, salt, and pepper.

Heat a stovetop grill to very hot or turn on the broiler, placing the rack about 4 inches from the flame. Place the bread on the grill or broiler rack and grill or broil until lightly browned on both sides. Combine the tomato with the basil, the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil, salt, and pepper. Spread the toast with the eggplant puree. Top with the chopped tomato mixture and the ricotta salata. Serve immediately.



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