Before you even start with the “I don’t like eggplant,” please — just stop.
I’ve heard it before. And after I convince you to try it — “It’s fried,” I’ll say — you’ll have to eat your words, so to speak.
Sandwiches are less about recipe and more about assembly, so let’s skip the formalities for a change. You’ll need:
- An eggplant (no kidding) — sliced about 3/8″ thick
- Flour, lightly beaten egg and breadcrumbs (all seasoned with s+p) — the holy trinity of frying
- Oil for oven-frying
- Tomato sauce (a jar or can is fine, homemade is great — I won’t judge)
- Bread — I used MBM‘s Ciabatta
- Mozzarella & Parmesan
- Red Pepper slices
- Mayo (I used Stinging Nettle Mayo)
- S+P, Oregano
The eggplant is a little finicky — to make the most of my time, I oven fry the entire eggplant, then freeze the extra slices for later use. Heat the slices straight from the freezer at 350º when you’re ready for another sandwich.
Prep & Assembly:
- Heavily salt both sides of the eggplant slices and set aside for 15 minutes. The slices will begin to “sweat,” drawing out the bitterness. Rinse the salt off and dry the eggplant well with a clean dishtowel.
- Preheat oven to 400° F. Heat a small amount of veg oil (1-2 tablespoons) in a baking pan in the oven for about 5 minutes.
- Bread the eggplant slices — coat first with flour (knocking off the excess), dip in the egg wash (allow the excess to drip away), coat with bread crumbs.
- Place the slices in the hot oil, and cook in the oven until golden on the bottom (10-15 minutes). Flip and return to the oven until golden. Set aside. (These can be done ahead.)
- Spread some mayo on the bottom slice of bread, then some tomato sauce, layer on a couple of slices of eggplant, some grated mozzarella & parm and red pepper slices. Heat under the broiler until bubbly and golden. Top with extra tomato sauce and a sprinkle of oregano.
Serve open faced or with a top. We had it with a Caesar.