Monday, September 3, 2012

Eggplant Panini with Pesto

I hope you're having a great Labor Day!

For a long time, I was hesitant to make panini sandwiches; with no panini press and no grill pan, I had no idea how I was going to make them.  I then read a book that explained a way to make them without a press.  Then, I made the sandwich on the stove and literally piled pans on top of it, flipped, and piled again.

It's so much easier since I was given cast iron pans.

 In other news, we had this gorgeous WHITE eggplant from the CSA.  I had no idea what to expect, but it tasted pretty much exactly like your standard purple eggplant.

I made these paninis complete on the grill.  The bread obviously got a little...cajun...  but even with the blackened parts, this was a delicious sandwich!  So easy, so fresh, so tasty, and so healthful!

Eggplant Panini with Pesto  Slightly adapted from Skinnytaste
    1 large eggplant, about 12-14 oz, sliced into 1/4" pieces
    kosher salt to taste
    olive oil
    12 oz french bread (or baguette), cut into 4 pieces
    4 slices part skim mozzarella cheese
    2 tbsp pesto
    8 thin sliced tomato

1.  Preheat your grill to medium.  You can salt the eggplant, if you'd like, but I read in Everyday with Rachael Ray that modern eggplants have been bred to have the bitter out.  Do what'cha like.
2.  Brush olive oil on each side of sliced eggplant then season with salt and pepper.  Grill on hot grill until soft, about 3-4 minutes a side.  Put aside.
3.   Build your sandwich:  spread pesto over one slice of bread, grilled eggplant, slice of mozzarella, a slice of tomato, and a second piece of bread.  Spray or brush with oil, place on hot grill, and smoosh the sandwich with a heavy pan.  After a minute or two, remove pan, flip sandwich, and repeat on the other side.
4.  Slice in half (on the diagonal!) and enjoy!!

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