Grilled Eggplant and Smoky Cheese Sandwiches – serves 4

27 06 2006

These hearty sandwiches are rich with the goodness of smoky cheese melted on top of tender grilled eggplant slices. Make a rustic sauce with chopped tomatoes, parsley, and healthful olive oil, spread it on grilled bread, top it with the eggplant and cheese 

INGREDIENTS:

2 1/2 cups chopped tomatoes
1/4 cup minced flat-leaf parsley
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon white-wine vinegar
Salt and freshly-ground black pepper, to taste
4 thin slices smoked Gouda or mozzarella cheese
4 3/4-inch-thick slices country-style bread from a round loaf
2 eggplants, about 1 pound each

METHOD:

1. In a medium bowl, stir together the tomatoes, parsley, 2 tablespoons of the olive oil, vinegar, pepper, and salt.

2. Brush both sides of the bread with oil, about 1 tablespoon per slice.

3. Slice off the top and bottom of the eggplants, then cut 2 1-inch slices from the center of each, reserving the remainder for another use. Brush the cut sides of the eggplant slices with a total of about 3 tablespoons oil and lightly sprinkle with salt.

4. Grill eggplant on an oiled grill about 8 to 10 minutes, turning occasionally, until very tender. Grill bread for 1 or 2 minutes, turning once, until grill marks appear. Transfer bread to a platter.

5. Top eggplant with cheese slices and grill, covered, until the cheese melts, about 1 minute. Use a spatula to transfer the eggplant to a platter.

6. Place grilled bread on 4 plates, then cover with tomato mixture. Drizzle with a little olive oil, top with eggplant, and finish with a few grinds of black pepper. Serve warm.


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