Fresh tomatoes and basil over gooey melted mozzarella and grilled eggplant make this the best sandwich for a lazy summer day! No measuring required, it's perfect if you're looking for vegetarian sandwiches to use up all of those tomatoes from the garden.
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It's the dog days of summer, people. We don't want it to end, but it's hot and we are kinda feeling too lazy to enjoy it. So let me put your mind at ease. This is a vegetarian sandwich that allows you to enjoy all of those end-of-summer tomatoes and everything that goes with them with very little effort.
No cook, (sorta) no fuss, no guilt. I mean, right now I am almost too lazy to write about it. But you need to eat it, so I will carry on.One of the best things about this grilled eggplant sandwich recipe is that it is very lazy. No measuring, just handfuls and bunches and drizzles.
Eggplant is outstanding on its own, but when you combine it with everything that makes a caprese salad so good - fresh mozzarella, tomatoes, basil, balsamic vinegar - you've got yourself a very tasty grilled eggplant sandwich that just might be the embodiment of summer.
So be lazy. Enjoy the last, lazy, crazy days of summer. No sweat.
- Italian eggplant: These are the larger, thicker, rounder eggplant. The thin Japanese eggplant are a bit too small for this as they are likely to fall through the grates of the grill.
- Cherry or grape tomatoes: Use whatever tiny tomatoes you can find, whatever color they may be.
- Fresh mozzarella cheese: We're using fresh mozzarella because it melts really quickly and is extra creamy.
- Balsamic reduction: You could make it, but let's remember the theme here - laziness means I bought it at the Italian market.
- Baguette or ciabatta bread: Something soft in the middle with a bit of a toothsome crust on the outside.
- Fresh basil: Because summer = tomatoes and basil.
- Olive oil and kosher salt: For seasoning and grilling.
Slice the eggplant into ¼ inch slices. Brush with olive oil and salt.
Place eggplant on a grill or cast-iron grill pan, turning once, and cook through until soft. Set aside to cool.
In the meantime, slice tomatoes in half and slice basil leaves into thin strips.
Slice bread in half.
Layer the grilled eggplant slices on top of baguette and top with cheese slices. Place under the broiler until cheese begins to melt and bubble.
Top the eggplant sandwiches with tomato slices and sprinkle with salt. Drizzle with balsamic reduction, and sprinkle the basil over the top.
Do you need to salt eggplant before cooking?
Not for this recipe since we are grilling it. Salting the eggplant and letting it drain in a colander for a while can get rid of bitterness and excess water. But guess what - eggplant isn't really bitter anymore. This might make a difference and get rid of water when baking an eggplant lasagna or frying it for eggplant parm, but the heat of the grill will take care of this step for you right quick.
It seems I have a thing for Italian sandwiches...
- Try a Salami Sandwich with Frico and Mostarda to bring an adult perspective to your childhood salami on white bread with yellow mustard.
- Keep grilling and make an Italian Steak Sandwich with Grilled Radicchio, it's got a great combo of bitter and sweet flavors.
- A Turkey Bagel Sandwich with Hot Sweet Mustard is what you want the day after Thanksgiving.
Grilled Eggplant Sandwich with Tomatoes, Mozzarella and Basil
- 1 eggplant sliced into ¼ inch slices
- 1 baguette small
- 6 slices fresh mozzarella cheese
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes or other small heirloom tomatoes
- fresh basil
- balsamic glaze
- kosher salt
- olive oil
- Slice the eggplant into ¼ inch slices. Brush with olive oil and salt.
- Place eggplant on a grill or grill pan, turning once, and cook through until soft. Set aside to cool.
- In the meantime, slice tomatoes in half and chiffonade the basil leaves. Slice baguette in half.
- Layer eggplant slices on top of baguette and top with cheese slices. Place under the broiler until cheese begins to melt and bubble.
- Top eggplant sandwiches with tomato slices and sprinkle with salt. Drizzle with balsamic reduction, and sprinkle basil over the top.
- Do you need to salt eggplant and let it drain before cooking? No. I've experimented with this extensively over the years and found that it makes absolutely no difference, so just treat it like any other veggie that you are going to grill. Season it and throw it on there.
- If you don't have an outdoor grill, a cast-iron grill pan will work nicely for the eggplant. Be sure it's nice and hot.