If you like what you see here at Eats Well With Others, please head on over to Foodbuzz and vote for me to be the next Project Food Blog Star!  You can find my entry to challenge #1 here.  Remember, you have 400 votes for this round, so I would really appreciate it if you would make Eats Well With Others one of them! 


This weekend, I held a memorial service for the C fibers in my tongue and possibly for a few in my fingertips.  (The C fibers being the nerves that sense pain, for all of you who were not required to memorize all of the spinothalamic tracts of the central nervous system last week.  Consider yourselves lucky.)

The whole thing was kind of awkward, you see, because I’m the one who killed them.

(Talk about a bull in a china shop.  Sheesh, Jo. Do you have no remorse?)


I didn’t really mean to do it.  It’s just.  Capsaicin is so…addictive.

That burn you get when you eat a jalapeno.

Or the one that appears on your fingers a full four hours after making red pepper relish because you forgot to wash your hands.

You know, the one that, because you are a hypochondriac, you immediately attribute to your stress fractures and so you call your orthopedist (who you just happen to have on speed dial) and demand an explanation for this untoward behavior. And he sighs because, well, this is not the first time you’ve called him at ungodly hours of the night.  And then he reminds you that pain cannot radiate from your pelvis to your fingertips.  No matter how delusional you are.


And then, because you are a good, diligent med student who remembers everything she’s learned in the past two years.  Everything except, well, everything.

You realize exactly what you’ve done.

By eating and touching capsaicin (the chemical in peppers that makes them so gloriously spicy).  Which seeps into your skin and binds to your pain receptors with such voracity that it causes them to fire away, electricity and action potentials running rampant with a fervor that rivals that of a fireworks show on the 4th of July.  The sky igniting in flame and sparkle.

Your sensory neurons twitching away, synapsing with everything in site.  Until they just.  Give.  Out.

Yes, it is a sad sad thing.

But given how delicious.  How sweet tangy spicy this red pepper relish is.  How virtuous you feel after throwing it on top of some eggplant (possibly the last of the season!) with some feta cheese and a good hunk of bread and calling it a meal.

Oh it is so worth it.

This is my submission to Symon Sundays hosted over at Veggie By Season!


Red Pepper Relish
Makes 2 cups, adapted from Symon’s Live To Cook

1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 small red onion, finely diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 red bell peppers, cored, seeded and diced very finely
2 jalapeno, seeded and diced
1 tbsp coriander seeds, toasted
1/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
1/2 cup pomegranate juice (Michael calls for orange juice, but I had POM on hand)
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro

1. Heat a medium nonreactive saucepan over medium-low heat.  Add the olive oil to glaze the bottom of the pan.  Add the onion, garlic, and salt and sweat until the onion begins to soften, about 2 minutes.  Add the bell peppers and jalapenos and sweat for 2 more minutes.  Add the coriander seeds and cook for another 30 seconds.

2. Add the sugar and vinegar and cook, stirring, until the sugar dissolves.  Add the pomegranate juice and simmer.  Stir occasionally, until the liquid completely reduces.  Michael says this only take 10 minutes. I say that is a lie.  15-20 minutes.  Remove from the heat and allow the relish to cool to room temperature.  Season with salt to taste and fold in the cilantro.  Refrigerate for up to 1 month.

For the “crostini”:
Either preheat your oven to 450, your broiler to high, or fire up the grill!  I would have much preferred to fire up the grill.  But, um.  I live in a 12th floor apartment.  That wasn’t happening.  Slice eggplant into large thick-ish coins.  Spray with cooking spray or drizzle with olive oil.  Sprinkle with salt.  Grill/broil/bake until tender to the touch/desired consistency!

Sprinkle with red pepper relish and some feta cheese.  Enjoy.

Please remember to send me your recipes for REGIONAL RECIPES: JAPAN!  

And if you like what you see here at Eats Well With Others, please vote for me to be the Next Project Food Blog Star!  Remember, you have 400 votes for this round, so I would really appreciate it if you included me as one of them!


You are reading this post on Eats Well With Others at https://joanne-eatswellwithothers.com. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to the author and or owner of Eats Well With Others. All rights reserved by Joanne Bruno.
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97 Responses to Eggplant "Crostini" with Symon’s Red Pepper Relish and Feta

  1. We loved this relish too – what a wonderful way to present it! Beautiful.

  2. Giovanna says:

    I haven’t had eggplant in like a full week! Yours looks yummolicious!
    And I’ve been eating peppers since I was 5 years old and it is hard for me to get a pepper that I consider hot now : ) The only hot ones I get are the ones I grow!

  3. I’ll be voting for sure! I think it opens today!

    Looks like Michael is still being good to you! This looks delicious!

  4. Rachana says:

    I love anything with eggplants and this looks yummmm!!!!

  5. Katerina says:

    I will definitely vote for you Joanne. These eggplants and the relish are so great. I wish I was your neighbor.

  6. Elizabeth says:

    Oh, those Eggplant Crostini! These are the flavors I love most — and subbing POM for OJ is brilliant. I voted for you — thanks for ALL your recipes. Everything here is so thoughtfully and beautifully presented.

  7. Swathi says:

    Nice eggplant crostini. Headed to voting for you.

  8. pajamachef says:

    voted for you! and that relish looks fab!

  9. No question – this I will make! Another beauty Joanne, you continue to blow me away! Love my hot peppers too!

  10. Louanne says:

    Delicious! And, I voted!

  11. This looks delicious and I usually don’t like bell peppers of any color! I may just try it! I also voted for you! Good luck!

  12. Dawn says:

    Mmmm I just bought an eggplant and love this relish idea.

  13. The Mom Chef says:

    This looks amazing. I love the idea of the red pepper relish cutting the bitterness of the eggplant. Thanks for sharing the recipe.

  14. Tasha says:

    This looks pretty and delicious! What a great idea. I love the use of feta in this!

  15. Mo Diva says:

    I voted dah’ling! good luck to you!

    the crostini looks sensaysh! xoxox

  16. Ameena says:

    I love love love eggplant! I also wish I had a grill but I live in a highrise as well so that isn’t happening any time soon.

    Off to vote for you! Crossing my fingers that you advance Joanne!

  17. Ashlee says:

    voted for you! these look delicious, I need to use some of the eggplant in my garden, they’re coming in strong! i wish my jalapenos had been stronger, i made the relish yesterday and didn’t get the burn i had hoped for!

  18. Alisa says:

    I voted for you! And I love using veggies for “bread.” Potato planks are one of my favs, but I was just thinking about making an eggplant “sandwich!”

  19. Love the dish. That red pepper relish is so packed with flavor. Worth the burn I’d reckon. Best of luck in the competition.

  20. Here in Singapore, most of us love spicy food. So your dish will probably be very popular here…. You have my vote!

  21. naomi says:

    I love that you made the eggplant slice a crostini. This looks so flavorful.

    Headed over to vote for you now. Good luck!!

  22. Beautiful crostini, have never had this before..

  23. SE says:

    this is excellent, Joanne
    I shall check the website..btw, did u happen to look at the food network’s search for their programs..check out..

  24. elra says:

    Superb idea Joanne, your crostini look delish.

    of course will vote 🙂

  25. Amy says:

    There have been a few times that I’ve had an intense itch near my eye, after chopping jalapenos, and not thinking…scratched it. OMG. Now I try to wear latex gloves. I voted Darlinque!

  26. Monet says:

    I voted for you! How could I not? My sweet husband had some pepper problems with his fingers a few weeks ago…but we did end up with some amazing salsa! Thank you for sharing another great recipe with me!

  27. megan says:

    Anything that causes that much pain is worth it, right?


  28. Juliana says:

    Joanne, what a beautiful dish/appetizer with eggplant…I love eggplants but do not cook enough…what a great presentation 🙂

  29. aipi says:

    My hubby is the biggest eggplantoholic…am sure he will love this..looks fantastic n so colorful..a really cool way to eat eggplants 🙂

    US Masala

  30. Kristin says:

    I love that you used eggplant for the crostini, this looks amazing!

  31. Satya says:

    beautiful way to eat eggplant …looks wonderful


  32. Great site. Just found you. I love eggplant and this looks wonderful!

  33. girlichef says:

    I made this relish a little while back…and mine ended up so weird. That’s all I’m gonna say about it…yours looks miles better! Lovin’ it on the eggplant, too. (And I voted for you!! Good luck!)

  34. Kristen says:

    Peppers are evil creatures, there is no doubt. I cut up a bunch of Hatch chilies and jalapeno peppers from my garden the other day. I was SO careful to wash and wash and wash and of course, not touch my face, but do you know what those insidious little things did? They spit at me, leaving juice on my face, near my eye. I didn’t know it at the time, but 12 hours after the procedure was over and they were snug in my freezer, I was writhing in pain because I had itched my eye. I am swearing off peppers for at least a week to teach them a lesson.

  35. What a splendid looking crostini. Nice party appetizer.

  36. Pam says:

    I have felt that burn so many times that I finally learned my lesson and wash my hands VERY well SEVERAL times after I handle peppers. This recipe looks pretty, tasty, and creative.

    I just voted! My fingers are crossed for you girl.

  37. Faith says:

    I love the idea of using eggplant to make crostini! Fantastically delicious.

  38. I know exactly wat u say, my fingers have seen doze days too:-)
    And for a few times after the ”burn”,i remember i can use a pair of disposable gloves and den i dont exactly when i need to,until d next burn and so it goes on…
    Luckily i have no suc access on speed dial:-)lol!
    The * is already added to ur name ,now lets make it official!!
    Am heading right of, to vote for ya , but give me a sec, i need to savor dis deliciousness yet!!!

    BDW ,plz check ur emails[frm urs truly]for a supriseeeeeeeeeeeee….

  39. Lori says:

    That relish sounds incredible. Great idea for the POM. I have that and jalapenos on hand so I definitely have to try this.

    You will be getting plenty of my 400. 😉

  40. Capsaicin is my poison. I cannot get enough. That relish looks great though try as I may, I just cannot get behind the eggplant. I suppose it would go well over just about anything.

    Once I was working with jalapenos and forgot to wash my hands afterwards. About ten minutes later, I excused myself to use the men’s room. You can imagine the rest. I learned that lesson the hard way many a year ago. Once it happens, you never have to worry about it happening again.

    Glad you got the cds for your dad. I just bought Sinatras “Only the Lonely” cd and have been listening to it feverishly as I bake. Can’t get enough of it. Cookie and Sinatra posts to come soon!

  41. RamblingTart says:

    OF COURSE I will vote you!!! 🙂 And this dish is so darn pretty!! Love it. 🙂

  42. Mary says:

    What a gorgeous presentation. I love this relish. Good luck in the competition. I don’t think you have anything to worry about. You’ll be around for rounds to come. Have a great day. Blessings…Mary

  43. Megan says:

    Beautiful pictures! I am a big fan of capsaicin, pretty much addicted actually. This looks absolutely delicious and with feta on it, I am completely sold. Yum!

  44. Martha (MM) says:

    Delicious! You know you’re right up there on the top of my list for sure! 🙂

  45. That Girl says:

    You don’t wear contacts do you? I discovered a while ago that capsaicin does NOT wash off by the end of the night, so now I take out my contacts BEFORE I cut peppers.

  46. These look scrumptious, love the relish! Voted for you!

  47. Julie says:

    your tougne burn kind of reminds me of the time when i was playing volleyball in college and put red hot on my shoulder (for pain) and forgot that it was there and mid match rubbed my eyes on my shoulder and like an idiot got red hot in my eye. if youre wondering if it stung? well. i think you know the answer to that 😉 haha

  48. newlywed says:

    I burn my hands on jalapenos all the time! Aloe kind of helps.

  49. Mari says:

    seriously jo can you call me when you make these fabulous things lol…you are so talented love!

  50. Victoria K. says:

    Yum yum!! Did you get my email with the “list”? Hope to see you soon!!

  51. janet says:

    This looks delicious… and your pomegranate juice sounds so much better than orange. 🙂

  52. Reeni says:

    I love these eggplant medallions with that delicious spicy relish! There’s nothing like the tongue burn! I voted for you and I’m rooting for you too.

  53. theUngourmet says:

    Yes, I know this feeling all too well. I recently diced up 12 jalapeno peppers with no gloves. It’s a horrid feeling!

    Awesome eggplant recipe! Best of luck in the contest. I didn’t enter. I. Can’t Take. The Pressure. 😀 I’ll head on over and vote for you.

  54. S. says:

    I have a ridiculously high tolerance for spicy foods. My former roommate and best friend used to look aghast at me when she saw how much sriracha I’d pour on my Vietnamese take-out.

    These look so delicious and simple. I love the red pepper relish idea.

  55. Jalapenos are my drug. Or habaneros, really. I love spicy food and can’t stand when people can’t handle even a tiny bit 🙂 These look awesome!!


  56. LimeCake says:

    yum that looks healthy and delicious. love eggplant!

  57. tigerfish says:

    I am loving your eggplant crostini! Healthful!

  58. Mo 'Betta says:

    I am very familiar with the “burn” you speak of, learned the hard way with my pickled peppers! And I voted 🙂

  59. Um.. these photos look amazing. Summery, spicy, feta-y amazing. Perfect for a meal after studying (or not studying.. I know how you med students like to pretend you’re studying but you’re actually daydreaming about dinner or on facebook for ungodly numbers of hours).

    Also, I know EXACTLY what I’m making for Regional Recipes this month and I’m vowing right now to definitely make it because it’s going to be EPIC!!

    I cannot wait for this rotation to be over.

  60. the twins says:

    this looks so good! i love all those ingredients and it would make a perfect late summer meal.
    i’ve been meaning to buy an eggplant for weeks now, thanks for reminding me =)

  61. Kris says:

    Looks amazing! I’m going to email you… :o)

  62. The pepper relish looks delish, and eggplant as crostini is a great idea! Speaking of capsaicin, I just an interesting NYTimes article about it this morning (benign masochism or higher intelligence): http://www.nytimes.com/2010/09/21/science/21peppers.html?_r=1&hp

  63. Catherine says:

    This sounds so good Joanne! I love that you put pomegranate juice instead or orange. I’m sure this tasted absolutely delicious.
    And those whoopie pies you made in your last post look mouthwatering! My daughter loves whoopie pies. I’ll have to make them for her sometime. I bet those were incredible too!

  64. Barbara says:

    Of course I’mm voting for you! 🙂

    Nice idea to use eggplant for crostini…and I’d like the Pom even better than orange juice!

  65. Marisa says:

    Remind me to never read your blog again right before supper! Wowser, this looks awesome. But then, I’ve always been a bit of an eggplant slut.

  66. Brad Fallon says:

    Not a fan of eggplant but that crostini looks awesome!

  67. These look fantastic! I love that you made eggplant into crostini! Yum!

  68. Maria says:

    This looks so delicious Joanne! I love feta!

  69. Velva says:

    heading over to vote. This eggplant dish looks delightful.

  70. It’s like art on a plate. AND it’s healthy!

  71. This looks just amazing-easy to make but elegant. and it will be perfect when i am craving veggies in the fall! thanks for the wonderful recipe and braving the burn 😉

  72. Indie.Tea says:

    The photographs are just gorgeous! And the recipe sounds divine.

  73. The red pepper relish looks so good! What a beautifully plated dish too. I going voting!

  74. Now that looks like an eggplant I could love. Good luck with the contest!

  75. Shannon says:

    ooh, i like it 🙂 and i voted!!

  76. Danielle says:

    Of course you have my vote!!! Good luck 😀

  77. Kim says:

    Uh oh! I just realized that I better get moving on that red pepper relish – which looks terrific, by the way 😉 I love how you served it up on eggplant crostini. For some reason I have a hard time finding eggplant around here, but I know I could find zucchini. Thanks for the great idea!

    P.S. I voted for you yesterday!

  78. These crostini are so beautiful for appetizers. So cool that you entered Project Food Blog—I just voted for you! You are an amazing foodie blogger girl. Best of luck in the competition.

  79. Kerstin says:

    I’m a wuss when it comes to jalapenos, but all the other ingredients are right up my alley – yum!

  80. Woah. I had no idea they could have such an intense effect. Definitely worth it though. And awesome idea to replace the toast with eggplant. Great for someone who can’t get enough of veggies :).

  81. Carolyn Jung says:

    Holy moly on the effects of those peppers. Although, I remember once cooking with some especially juicy and fresh jalapenos. Even though I washed my hands diligently afterward, I could still feel a sting right around my cuticles for hours to come. How crazy is that!

  82. Debinhawaii says:

    I made my votes yesterday and of course you were one of them. 😉

    This is so gorgeous–I love it on top of that eggplant. Worth the burn for sure.

  83. Joanne, you are incredibly innovative!
    You have got mine too. :-))


  84. MaryMoh says:

    Healthy and delicious dish. I like it. I have just voted for you on the FB challenge. Good Luck!

  85. Nicole, RD says:

    Hey sweetie! I’ve fallen off the blog bandwagon a bit! Looks like you’re up to the usual of making stunning dishes! That eggplant looks PERFECT! Yum!

    You’ve certainly got my vote!

  86. Chris says:

    Alexis and I learned this lesson the hard way. We prepped 100 jalapeno poppers for an event I catered and didn’t wear gloves. Our hands (and anything they touched) burned for 2 days.

    The relish sounds just perfect for so many applications.

  87. Eliana says:

    Another Symon winner. This looks awesome Joanne. I kinda wanna swim in a pool full of it!

  88. Lisa says:

    This looks delicious! For some reason, I’m really into eggplant lately and I love the idea of feta on it! Yum!

  89. grace says:

    can i tell you about the summer i spent doing research using capsaicin? i quickly learned not to touch to stuff with ungloved hands–that’s just asking for accidentally setting one’s eyes or lips on fire! 🙂

  90. I don’t really like red peppers but you make them look good with this salsa!

  91. […] Three years ago…Eggplant Crostini with Red Pepper Relish and Feta […]

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