Yields 8 portions
- 3 lb eggplant, peeled, cut into 1/2-in cubes
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt, plus as needed
- 3/4 cups minced onions
- 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided use
- 1/2 cup (2 stalks) small-dice celery
- 1 1/2 cups tomato purée
- 1/2 cup pitted green olives, diced
- 1/4 cup capers, rinsed and drained
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup white wine vinegar
- Ground black pepper, as needed
- 16 baguette slices, cut on the bias 1/4-inch thick
- 1 cup crumbled ricotta salata cheese
- Toss the eggplant with the salt and allow to sit for 30 minutes.
- Heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a sauté pan over medium heat. Add onions and cook until tender, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the celery and continue to cook until tender, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the tomato purée, and increase the heat to medium-high and bring the mixture to a boil. Add the olives, capers, sugar, and vinegar. Transfer to a bowl and wipe out the pan.
- Squeeze the eggplant cubes to remove any excess water. Rinse, and pat dry with paper towels.
- In the reserved pan, heat the remaining 1/4 cup oil and cook the eggplant over high heat, working in batches, if needed to prevent overcrowding, until slightly caramelized, 2 to 3 minutes. Lower the heat to medium and add the reserved tomato mixture. Increase the heat and bring to a boil, then lower the heat to medium and simmer until the sauce thickens, about 10 minutes. Adjust seasoning, if necessary.
- Brush the baguette slices with olive oil and grill or toast them over medium-high heat until crisp and lightly charred, 1 to 2 minutes. To serve, top the grilled baguette with a generous pile of the eggplant mixture and sprinkle with the ricotta salata.