Stewed Eggplant Dip

Sometimes I love making a meal just out of a crusty bread piping hot from the oven and an accompanying schmear. My go-to dip is usually bruschetta, but I decided to change it up because I had a beautiful eggplant in my fridge waiting to be used up. This dip was delicious and basil-y  (my favorite herb by far). Pro tip: this dish is really versatile...I used the leftovers to toss with pasta!

Stewed Eggplant Dip
1 large eggplant (cut lengthwise into slices of 1/2 inch thickness)
5 cloves garlic (minced)
1/2 onion (chopped)
3 large tomatoes on the vine, or 8 pearl tomatoes on the vine (chopped)
1/2 can diced fire roasted tomatoes
handful of fresh basil
1/2 tsp dried oregano (optional)
sea salt
fresh ground black pepper

0. Preheat oven to 350 F.
1. On a large baking sheet place eggplant slices. Sprinkle 1 side with sea salt and let sit for 10 minutes. Dab off as much moisture as you can with towel. Flip over and repeat. This process pulls the moisture and some bitterness from the eggplant and is essential.
2. Brush each side of eggplant with EVOO and add fresh black pepper.
3. Bake for 20 minutes or until very soft, turning once during baking. Remove from oven and when cool, cut into bite sized pieces.
4. In a large skillet heat olive oil to medium. Add garlic and onion and sauté until beginning to brown. Add fresh tomatoes and canned tomatoes. Cook another 5 minutes.
5. Add eggplant and cook another 5-10 minutes. In the last 2 minutes from cooking add chopped fresh basil, sea salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste.
6. Serve with toasted bread and a side salad.