Yield: Serves 8.
- 2 1/2 pounds small eggplants, cut lengthwise into 1/4-inch-thick slices
- Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
- 1 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
- 1 cup balsamic vinegar
- Vegetable oil, for grill
- 1 baguette, halved lengthwise
- 6 ounces feta cheese
- Fresh basil, torn, for sprinkling
- Sprinkle eggplant slices with 2 tablespoons salt, place in a colander, and let stand 30 minutes. Wipe off salt and moisture with paper towels.
- Mix olive oil, thyme, 2 teaspoons salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper in a medium bowl. Reserve 1 tablespoon oil mixture. Place vinegar in a small saucepan over high heat. Cook until reduced by half, 8 to 10 minutes. Remove from heat, stir in reserved oil mixture, and let cool.
- Preheat grill to medium; brush grill with vegetable oil. Brush eggplant slices generously with some remaining oil mixture. Grill eggplant, covered, until slightly charred and tender, about 4 minutes per side.
- Increase grill temperature to high. Brush baguette with remaining oil mixture, and grill until toasted, about 3 minutes. Cut baguette into pieces in various sizes.
- Place eggplant, baguette, and feta on a large platter. Drizzle eggplant and feta with some vinegar mixture, then sprinkle torn basil over top. Serve with remaining vinegar mixture.