Grilled Eggplant Sandwich


Quintessential Italian ingredients like pesto and mozzarella share a starring role with eggplant in this heavenly sandwich. If you have a panini press, by all means use it to serve the sandwich at its crispy best!


1 large eggplant (cut lengthwise into 1/4-inch-thick slices, peeling optional)
  Salt and fresh ground black pepper
1/4 cup olive oil
4 ciabatta or francese rolls (split in half)
1/4 cup pesto
1 large ripe tomato (thinly sliced)
1 ball (8 ounces) fresh milk mozzarella or mozzarella di bufala (cut into 8 slices)


Brush both sides of the eggplant slices with the olive oil and season lightly with salt and pepper. Grill the eggplant over a medium-hot fire, turning once, until tender, but not mushy, 5 to 7 minutes. Set aside at room temperature. At this point the eggplant can be refrigerated, covered, for up to 2 days; return to room temperature before proceeding with the recipe.

Spread the cut surfaces of the rolls with the pesto (1 tablespoon per roll). Arrange 2 slices of grilled eggplant on the bottom half of a roll, then top with tomato and 2 slices of mozzarella, and cover with the top of the roll; repeat with remaining ingredients. Serve immediately or grill on a panini press.


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