grilled eggplant & red pepper sandwich

April 22, 2013 § Leave a comment

GrilledEggplantSandwich-1

You may remember me mentioning a couple weeks ago that I had tabbed a bunch of new recipes in my recent Food and Wine Magazine issue. I’m quite impressed with myself; I’ve made almost all of them. There were a few flops. They had an amazing citrus chicken recipe that I tried to do with tofu. It didn’t work. You just can’t get the same baked chicken crunch on tofu. I also won’t be buying a deep-fryer anytime soon to achieve this, so we might have to give up hope on this idea for a little bit. The citrus flavor had great punch to it though, so I’m sure I will use that combination of flavors elsewhere.

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One recipe highlight was the Grilled Eggplant Parmesan. It was a great new interpretation of what Eggplant Parmesan can be. No overpowering marinara sauce, no fried eggplant, just simple flavors. I made it and loved it and am now making it again. This time though I wanted to make it into a sandwich.

Eggplant can be tricky at times. If you under cook it, it can be quite tough and unappealing. In grilling and baking it we’re eliminating the possibility of this issue. I also like that turning a dish into a sandwich automatically makes it feel like a lunch item. I’m not sure why we have these ideas of what we believe to be a “lunch” food versus a “dinner” food, but I think we all do. And a sandwich is the perfect lunch.

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Please note this is quite a messy sandwich to eat. It shouldn’t necessarily be eaten in front of guests!

Makes 4 Sandwiches
Inspired by Food and Wine Magazine

1 large eggplant, sliced 1/4 inch thick
1/2 red pepper, thinly sliced
1 roma tomato, sliced
olive oil, for drizzling
salt and pepper
3/4 cup havarti cheese, sliced
crusty bread, sliced
fresh basil

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

Heat up a grill pan. Brush each slice of eggplant with a bit of olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place on the grill pan for about 4 minutes, flipping over after 2 minutes. You should get a nice char on both sides.

Sprinkle a little olive oil on a baking sheet. Place the eggplant on the baking sheet, with some overlapping edges but no more than 2 layers deep. Add the sliced red pepper in a single layer, then the sliced tomatoes on top and sprinkle with more salt and pepper. Add a single layer of cheese.

Bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes, until the cheese becomes golden brown and bubbly.

In the mean time, cut 8 slices of bread about 1/2 inch thick and place on a baking sheet. Drizzle a bit of olive oil on each. Place in the oven for the last 5 minutes of baking to add a nice crunch to the bread.

Once the eggplant bake is ready, cut into 4 pieces. Put the eggplant bake on the bottom slices of bread and add a few basil leaves to each. Top each sandwich and enjoy warm.

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