You’d be surprised how often people ask me what they should do with eggplant. They get one from a neighbor’s garden, in a CSA box, or somehow end up buying one from the store and then have no idea what they should do with it. I love eggplant, despite the fact the fact that they kind of end up ugly. Look at the picture…the ugly green-tinted slab is eggplant. But don’t be fooled, it is delicious! When prepared properly, eggplant is creamy, mild, and delicious. This particular sandwich is a great intro to eggplant. The sandwich is full of flavor, hearty, and it gets all over the place so it definitely belongs in your face (thank you Carl’s Jr. commercials).
1 loaf focaccia bread, cut into individual portions and split open sandwich style
1 eggplant, peeled sliced and prepared (see cooking lesson below)
1 red bell pepper, seeded and cut into 2 inch wide strips
1 tablespoon olive oil (divided)
1/2 onion, sliced
8 mushrooms, sliced
salt and pepper
1 tomato sliced
1/4 cup mayonnaise
3 garlic cloves, crushed
1/2 lemon, juiced
1. Heat your oven to 425 degrees. Spray at baking sheet with nonstick spray. Lay out the prepared eggplant slices and bell pepper strips onto the baking sheet. Drizzle with 2 tsp olive oil. Bake for 15-20 minutes until eggplant just starts to brown and bell pepper skins begin to fall off. Set aside.
2. Saute the onion and mushroom slices in 1 tsp olive oil over medium high heat. Season with salt and pepper. Should take about 7 minutes. Set aside.
3. Make the garlic aioli by mixing the mayo, crushed garlic, and lemon juice together until well combined.
4. Assemble sandwiches by layering all components (eggplant, bell pepper, onion/mushrooms, tomato and olive slices) between the bread slices which should be lathered with aioli.
If you don’t prepare eggplant it can end up tasting bitter and having a tough texture. To draw out the bitter taste, you’ll want to follow these easy steps.
How to prepare eggplant:
1. Cut the eggplant however the recipe states. For the above recipe, you’ll want to peel and slice the eggplant.
2. Lay the eggplant pieces out on a tray. Season generously with salt to coat. Like a disgusting amount of salt. Don’t worry, it won’t be salty.
3. Let it sit for about an hour. You’ll notice a bunch of liquid will come to the top.
4. Rinse the pieces off and pat dry.
5. Proceed to use in any recipe.