Eggplant, Pancetta & Fresh Mozzarella Open-faced Sandwiches
2 hearty appetites
canola oil or other light oil with a high smoke point
fresh basil, leaves only
1Remove the fresh mozzarella from the refrigerator to allow it to come toward room temperature.
2Heat oil in a large skillet on medium high until it shimmers. If the oil is too cold, too much of it will soak into the eggplant.
3Peel the eggplant and cut into 1/4 inch dice. Saute the eggplant in the hot oil until soft and translucent.
4Remove the eggplant from the skillet and spread it out on paper towels soak away some of the oil.
5Cut the pancetta into 1/4 inch dice and slice the mushrooms. Saute in the still hot pan where you cooked the eggplant. Turn down the heat a bit if necessary.
6Chop the basil and garlic. When the pancetta has rendered its fat and the mushrooms are starting to brown, add the basil and garlic and saute a minute or two.
7Add the eggplant to the pancetta and mushroom mixture and continue to saute until it is somewhat brown and gold and the garlic has lost its raw bite. Season with salt and pepper.
8Lay the bread on the dinner plates. Put slices of fresh mozzarella on the bread.
9Spread the hot eggplant mixture on top of the cheese which will melt a bit. A fork is needed to eat this.