Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Eggplant Sandwiches

It is that time of year.  In my opinion, the best time of year, when tomatoes and corn just start to ripen, and you've had lettuce and zucchini growing out your ears for a month or so;  the first potato plants are dying off, ready to be dug out, and it's time for BLT's and sweet corn, roasting hot dogs on the fire, and bowls of ice cream (well, when isn't it time for ice cream?)  Awesome.  Well, that time is here, and I'm cherishing it because ironically enough I live clear up North which means I won't have it for long.

But today is a good day, because today I can say that I have had my first eggplant sandwich of the year.

"Say what?"  you say.

And today I am going to share with you a potentially secret family recipe.  I have no idea where my parents got the recipe, but we've made it for years and I've never seen a similar recipe.  It is closest to a portobello Mushroom sandwich, and in fact it would probably work really well to substitute portobellos for the eggplant.  But I can't grow mushrooms, so I prefer to stick with the "garden variety" (Ha!) Eggplant.

What you need to make 2 sandwiches:

1 Medium Eggplant (make sure it's nice and firm, not squishy)
1 Lg. Tomato
4 Slices Texas Toast (Yeah, that insanely thick stuff)
2 Sandwich-size thick-sliced pieces of mozzarella cheese (Don't skimp on this one)
3 Tbl olive Oil
1 Tbl. Dry Italian Seasoning


First, fire up that grill!  I've used charcoal and gas grills, they both work great.  You can also use the stove or broiler in your oven if you like, just adjust the timing as necessary.  If you have a grill readily available, though, I would definitely recommend using it.

First, peel the eggplant and slice it into 3/4" thick slices.  Then slice the tomato into 4 slices, about 3/4" thick.  Put all your eggplant slices, tomatoes, texas toast, and cheese on a plate so they're ready to go when you need 'em.

Next, mix the olive oil with the dried Italian seasoning.  Hint:  When using dried herbs, if you sprinkle them into your palm and then crush them before putting them in the food, it releases their flavor and makes them much more tasty!

Then, brush the olive oil mixture onto the eggplant slices, covering both sides.  Also slather some on the tomato slices and spread some on each side of the bread.  Be generous, it's the main seasoning and hey, it's olive oil!

 Now head on out to the grill with a glass of something delicious and enjoy the process.  First, put the eggplant slices on the grill and lightly salt them.  Cook them until they are lightly browned on one side, and flip them.  Once they're flipped, put the tomatoes on the grill followed by the bread.  Lightly salt the tomatoes.


Okay, now is crunch time.  Keep an eye on the bread, when the first side's toasted, flip it.  Also, flip the 'maters when they get some grill lines on the side.  Don't let them get so mushy they fall apart.  The same goes for the eggplant--it's done when it's soft, but not mushy.

When you see that the eggplant and tomatoes are ready, stack up 2 or 3 pieces of eggplant into a little "pile" and top with two slices tomato.  Top each "stack" with a slice of cheese and let it melt at least partway.
Once the cheese is partway melted, carefully move the stack onto a piece of toast--then top with another piece.  The residual heat of the eggplant and tomato will finish melting the cheese.

Yum.  So good.  So now, since this is both healthy and delicious and very summery, you should try it.  Unless you don't like eggplant or tomatoes...then maybe eat something else.  Oh, and we had a few pieces of eggplant left over, as you can see on the left side of the picture.  We just ate them along with our sandwiches, but you could save them and chop them up to use in eggs or throw  some cheese and marinara on top and voila! Eggplant Parmesan! (Okay, without bread crumbs).

So there you are, that's one of my favorite summertime treats.  What are your good memories of summertime food fun?

Oh yeah, and turn off your grill.

1 comment:

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