Baked Eggplant Snacks

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Eggplant-Snacks-webIn Sicily eggplant is one of the most eaten vegetables. Match it with some cheese and other topping and you have wonderful yummy snacks. 

In the south of Italy pizza topping are kept to just a few ingredients so the individual flavours can be experienced and this recipe is an example of this. 

If you want longer versions cut the eggplant long ways and follow the same process detailed below. 

Ingredients 

1 large eggplant
1/2 tbsp coarse salt
1 tbsp olive or coconut oil
1 400g (16 oz) fresh tomatoes or canned diced tomatoes, juice removed (for canned tomatoes)
100g (4oz) about 5 spring onions (green onions), white parts only
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 tsp fresh thyme
1 tsp fresh oregano 
1 tsp smoked paprika
100g (4 oz) fresh mozzarella
a few shavings parmesan
a few sliced olives
Fresh chopped basil leaves 

Method 

Slice the eggplant into 7mm (1/4-inch) thick slices. Place them on a flat surface and sprinkle with coarse salt. This will draw out some of the moisture that is in the eggplant. Let sit for 20 minutes. Preheat oven to 190 C (400 F). Pat the slices dry on both sides with paper towel, place in a single layer on a baking sheet lined with foil, and bake for 15 – 20 minutes, until tender on the inside, but still holding together. 

In the meantime, make the tomato sauce: chop the onions and garlic separately. Heat the olive oil in a sauce pan over medium heat, add the onions and cook for 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute, until fragrant. Add the chopped tomatoes, herbs, season with salt, pepper and the paprika, and simmer for 15 -20 minutes, until it has thickened. 

When you are ready to top the eggplant preheat oven to 190 C (400 F). Slice the mozzarella and olives into very thin slivers. Spread 1 tbsp tomato sauce on top of each eggplant slice, add a sliver of mozzarella, a few parmesan shavings, a few olive slices, and freshly cracked pepper. Bake 5 to 10 minutes, until the cheese is melted and golden. 

Top, garnish with some fresh chopped basil and serve warm.