Ever since I started making my own sourdough, I've been making toast on a daily basis. Not just butter and jam on toast but toasts hefty enough to make a meal or appetizer. So far I've whipped up a roasted tomato and burrata toast and charred ricotta toast with peppers, both incredibly delicious. It was time to add another one to the list, this time going the Middle Eastern route. I know there's not a lot of people who like eggplant but when it's braised with flavor punching ingredients, it's really quite good. You almost forget you're even eating eggplant! Try this braised eggplant toast with garlic bean spread and you won't regret it.
Braised Eggplant Toast with Garlic Bean Spread
Garlic bean spread
- 10 garlic cloves
- 3 thyme sprigs
- 1 rosemary sprig
- ½ cup olive oil
- 14 ounces canned cannellini beans rinsed and drained
- 1 tsp dijon mustard
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- salt and pepper
- 2 tbsp oil
- 1 medium eggplant diced
- 2 shallots sliced
- 2 black garlic sliced
- 14 ounces canned diced tomatoes
- 1 ½ tbsp pomegranate molasses
- 1 tsp sugar
- salt and pepper
- 2 tbsp fresh mint chopped
- 8 slices crusty bread
- Make the garlic bean spread. Combine the garlic cloves with thyme, rosemary, and ½ cup olive oil in a medium saucepot. Heat the oil over low heat and continue to gently simmer for 10 minutes or until the garlic cloves are lightly browned. Remove from heat and let sit for 10 minutes.
- Remove and discard the herbs. Blend the garlic cloves with ¼ cup of the oil, cannellini beans, 1 tsp dijon, and 1 tbsp lemon juice until smooth. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside.
- Heat 2 tbsp oil in a saute pan over medium-heat heat. Add the diced eggplant and cook until caramelized on all sides, about 7-8 minutes.
- Add the shallots and black garlic and saute until the shallots are tender, about 3 minutes. Add the canned tomatoes, 1 ½ tbsp pomegranate molasses, and 1 tsp sugar and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 20 minutes, stirring frequently. Season the eggplant with salt and pepper.
- Toast the bread and smear the garlic bean spread on top. Spoon a generous amount of the braised eggplant on the toast and finish with chopped mint and a sprinkle of sea salt. Serve immediately.
**Helpful tips and common mistakes
If you've tried my other toast recipes, you know that I like to pile on a good amount of ingredients on a slab of bread. If we're going to make them for lunch, you better make it satisfying! This eggplant toast is no different in that there are several components to prepare. Don't fret, it'll come together sooner than you think.
To make the braised eggplant toast, we're going to first make the garlic bean spread. Think of it like hummus but made with cannellini beans and roasted garlic. Delicious, right?
Slowly brown whole garlic cloves in oil with rosemary and thyme sprigs until the garlic is golden brown. The garlic will continue to cook as it sits in the hot oil so you don't want them too dark.
Remove the herbs and blend half of the oil, about ¼ cup, with the roasted garlic cloves, cannellini beans, mustard, and lemon juice until smooth. Season with salt and pepper and there you have the garlic bean spread. The recipe makes a good amount of dip so you'll most likely have extra. This means time to spread it on everything! I used it as a pizza sauce, slathered it on roasted chicken, and used it as a dip for pita chips. All highly recommendable.
Now it's time to braise the eggplant. Eggplant does take a while to cook, about 20 minutes. If you rush the process, the eggplant will taste more sponge-like. I like to really break down the vegetable until it's tender and soft, allowing it to soak up all the flavors and become something quite beautiful.
If you can't find black garlic, substitute it with regular garlic. Black garlic is fermented garlic that tastes almost like balsamic vinegar. I recently have become obsessed with this ingredient because of the punch it adds to dishes.
The pomegranate molasses might be another foreign ingredient in the list. It's basically pomegranate juice that has been reduced until it's intensely flavored syrup. I personally don't think there's anything else that compares in flavor but if you can't find it, substitute with pomegranate juice or lemon juice with a touch of honey.
Spread the garlic bean spread on crusty bread, top it with the braised eggplant, finish the toast with fresh mint and a sprinkle of sea salt. I hope you're hungry because these toasts will surely satisfy you!
For more toast inspiration, check out this roasted tomato and burrata toast!