Eggplant Sandwiches

I love sandwiches, especially when I have a fridge stocked full of fresh vegetables. You can vary this sandwich any way you like- add new ingredients, change the bread…the options are endless. I’ve used wheat bread, added avocado, added caramelized onions…whatever you like. The original is really good too!

INGREDIENTS

  • 8 (1/2-inch-thick) eggplant slices
  • Olive oil
  • 2 cubanelle peppers or 1 large red pepper
  • 4 Slices ciabatta bread
  • 2 tablespoons pesto (you can use refrigerated or make your own- recipes in previous weeks, arugula/basil pesto recipe below)
  • 1 cup baby arugula
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup (2 ounces) soft goat cheese

DIRECTIONS

 

Preheat broiler and/or Panini Press. Arrange eggplant slices in a single layer on a foil-lined baking sheet. Brush both sides of eggplant with olive oil.  Cut bell pepper in half lengthwise; discard seeds and insides. Arrange bell pepper halves, skin sides up, on baking sheet with eggplant; flatten the peppers with your hand as much as possible.

Broil 4 minutes; turn eggplant over (do not turn bell pepper over). Broil an additional 4 minutes; remove eggplant from pan.  Broil bell pepper an additional 7 minutes or until blackened. Place bell pepper in a zip-top plastic bag; seal. Let stand for 15 minutes; when cooled, peel the skin off the pepper. You now have a roasted pepper!

You can broil bread slices for 2 minutes or until lightly browned, turning once.  Spread 1 tablespoon pesto on one side of bread. On top of the pesto layer with 2 eggplant slices, 1 bell pepper half, and 2 eggplant slices. Toss arugula with remaining a little olive oil and black pepper; divide arugula mixture among both sandwiches. Layer with top slice of bread.  You can eat or press in Panini for additional 3 minutes and then enjoy.

Arugula Pesto:

2 cups packed fresh arugula or basil, 2 cloves garlic, 1/4 cup pine nuts (I like them toasted first), 2/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil, divided, Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste, 1/2 cup freshly grated Pecorino (or Romano or parmesan) cheese

Combine the arugula/basil, garlic, and pine nuts in a food processor and pulse until coarsely chopped.  Add 1/2 cup of the oil and process until fully incorporated and smooth.

Wine Pairing:

This dish would go nicely with an Italian Pinot Grigio or Orvieto (region in Italy known for semi-dry white wines)

 

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