Although made with eggplants, this spread is quite different from things like baba ganouj or other similar spreads. It doesn't have the smoky, intense eggplant flavor. The flavor here is much milder, balanced by tomatoes and capers.
There are no fixed quantities,
you can change quantities, add or subtract ingredients, as you like.
The spread freezes well, so it makes a very
convenient last minute appetizer. I usually
prepare a large batch in the summer, freeze it, and then just take
it out at the last moment before a dinner.
The quantities described below should make enough for two or three crostini batches (depending of course on how thinly or thickly you spread it).
For the spread, cut the shallots and sautee them
(ie fry at low temperature until golden) in a pan
with some of the olive oil.
(You can instead add raw cut shallots to the
rest of the ingredients in the pan, though I prefer
Pour some of the olive oil on the bottom of a casserole or of a pan. Peel the eggplants and cut them in a few pieces (you're going to cook them until mashed). Put them in the pan, add capers, spices, anchovies, and whatever else you like, then cover with the tomatoes.
Bake in a 350 oven for 1 hr 30 (or until very soft). Let cool, then mash in a food processor.
For the crostini, simply lay a sliced baguette on a cookie sheet
and bake in a 350 degree oven for about 10-15 minutes, turning the slices once
halfway through. (This can be done also a day or two in advance.)
Be very careful - oven power varies, and bread burns right away,
so as soon as you see the slices getting even the slightest color, take out of
The day you're planning to serve the crostini, simply spread your paste on the crostini. I would recommend that you spread it relatively thinly, the reason being that there is a lot of oil, and they could otherwise become quite heavy.
This appetizer is very convenient because you can freeze it and reheat at the very last moment. You can change the ingredients to suit your taste. For instance, I like anchovies, so there are a few of them, but you can leave them out if you don't like them. But I don't use garlic - and again, you can use that instead. If you sautee the shallots slowly, you will not have a strong oniony flavor; if that's what you're looking for, then you can add shallots or onions to the ingredients, without sauteeing, or even raw at the end when you mash (but then the flavor will be very strong). I do like capers a lot, and feel that they give a necessary zing to this dish - but some people seem to dislike capers; without capers, you probably need to find something else to give some kick. (Perhaps hot peppers?)