Goat Cheese Crostini with Roasted Pomegranate Eggplant

Make these this weekend. Really. Make it. This recipe was my turning point. Intern year is hard man — you are worked, and then you come home and you read, and you study, and then you’re worked some more. You see things that you did not know were possible, you see pathology that you only read about, and you feel so much. You feel your patients, you feel your emotions, you feel your fatigue, you feel. And it is exhausting. I stopped reading things that were not medicine, my food was noon conference meals and pre-made salads with tofurkey for dinner. Fast, efficient, done in under 11 minutes. I am tired.

Despite all that, I love it. I like talking to patients. I like explaining things. Fundamentally, I like learning. This year, thus far, has been one of the most tiring and shockingly reassuring years of my life — I picked a path that works for me because I like to learn. And it’s constantly about learning.

But somewhere around…early March, I became less tired. Patient management decisions became easier. Hearing a set of symptoms congealed into a potential list of diagnoses faster. Putting a pain regimen, a basic diuretic regimen, a basic COPD regimen was not paralyzing. Nights on call as the sole intern on a floor were not terrifying. My juniors told me I would hit this inflection point, and I did not really believe them. It never feels like you’re growing when you are incrementally growing, but something changes.

That something was around my 10 year anniversary with Tyler, when I needed to come up with a meal. The few months earlier, I was honestly drawing blanks and relying on, like I said, premade salads and meals I had made a million times, or just going out to eat. But for some reason, this was different, it’s was like my version of How Mita Got her Groove Back. We had plates of different types of crostini, each coming from my food-driven mind-brain. And it was delicious and so, so, so relieving: it’s challenging to start something new, something where you start from the bottom and learn/relearn things over and over, and make mistakes that matter, but eventually it’ll settle out, and you’ll get your groove back.

So, I present, Crostini! Seriously, make these.

Roasted Eggplant Crostini with Pomegranate

Baguette, sliced, toasted
Goat Cheese
1 Large eggplant
3-4 cloves of garlic, chopped
2 green onions, sliced thinly
Fistful of flat leaf parsley, coarsely chopped
3 tablespoons of pomegranate molasses
Salt + Pepper
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Pomegranate Seeds

Slice up your baguette thinly, and toast them.

Take your eggplant, wash it, dry it, stab it with a knife a few times, coat it in olive oil, and put it in the oven at 400 degrees for around 20 minutes. Take it out an allow it to cool, and then peel off the skin, and chop up the eggplant inside. Then put it in a strainer and drain out the excess fluid. Put it in a bowl, chop up the garlic, and toss that in there. Then put in the chopped up parsley, scallions, add in about 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil, and the pomegranate molasses. Taste it, add in appropriate salt and pepper. Then let it sit for about 30 minutes to an hour (up to 24 hours).

While that’s resting, top your toasted slices with a thin schmear of goat cheese. When you are ready to serve, top with eggplant mixture, and garnish with pomegranate seeds, drizzle with flavorful olive oil and serve.

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