I love a good sandwich, one that pops with flavour and is distinct. This is one of those sandwiches.
This vegetarian sandwich is based on the simple concept of great flavours put together well. It starts with a good baguette slathered with pesto, balsamic glazed eggplant and melted cheese. For this recipe, I used Carrot top pesto, but you can use any pesto you have handy or want to make. The magic is in the roasted eggplants that are caramelized with balsamic vinegar and bursting with flavour. The final step of tomatoes for a fresh pop and melted cheese completes this sandwich. The sandwich is filling and can easily be lunch or an appetizer in small pieces. The flavours come together well, they are fresh and light, highlighting the best if summer produce.
Deborah Madison was one of the first chefs to embrace the farm-to-table movement when she opened her restaurant Greens, one I have dined at a few times. Her cookbooks are lovely, and this one, in particular, is amazing. Simple recipes that are loaded with flavour. Like me, you should get all her cookbooks, each is a masterpiece!
For more wonderful recipes from this cookbook, click here.
2 large globe eggplants, sliced horizontally into 1/2-inch slices
Olive oil spray
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
2-3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1/3 cup pesto, see note below
3-4 tomatoes, cut into circles
1/2 cup grated gouda, provolone or Fontina cheese
A few lettuce leaves (optional)
Preheat the oven to 375° F.
Place the eggplant slices on a lined baking sheet and spray with olive oil. Rub the garlic onto the eggplants and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake for 30-40 minutes till the eggplants are soft.
Brush the eggplants liberally with the balsamic and put them back into the oven for 7 minutes. Repeat this again till you have very sticky glazed eggplants. remove and cool.
Set the oven on broil mode and set a rack about 8 inches from the broiler.
To serve, cut the baguette longitudinally and separate the two halves. On the top half dab butter and place on a baking sheet with the buttered side up.
On the bottom half, apply a very thick coat of the pesto. Top with the eggplant, tomato slice and the grated cheese. Place this loaded sandwich on the same lined baking sheet and broil for 3-4 minutes till the buttered side is toasted and browned. The cheese should have melted all over the tomatoes.