Helping Eggplant Make a Comeback with an Eggplant Caprese Sandwich!
I’m not completely sure why but until recently, I have never eaten a lot of eggplant. But now that I know how to eat eggplant and experience its full potential, I’ve become a big fan. Eggplants’ bitter flavor and spongy texture taste best when grilled or broiled, and eggplant can be added to sauces or roasted vegetable mixtures. I recently made an Eggplant and Pasta Incaciata, which was absolutely delicious! I definitely definitely recommend this recipe for anyone who is up for it because it does take some time. But believe me, you won’t be disappointed.
But for a weeknight meal when you don’t have a lot of time and want to throw something together relatively quickly, try this Eggplant Caprese Sandwich. I call it a sandwich, well, more of an open-faced sandwich simply because it’s served on slice of toasted bread. If you want something lighter, simply omit the bread and go for it. Leave everything else the same though – if you can- because the breaded, broiled eggplant with the melted, gooey mozzarella cheese, marinara sauce, tomatoes and basil is heaven. So. Good.
Eggplant lovers out there, I really hope you give this recipe a try. . maybe even on a Meatless Monday? Definitely pin this one for later. You won’t regret it. I hope you enjoy!
And something I just learned. Eggplant is a fruit. And smaller, immature eggplants are best. Their seeds will be softer, and they are less likely to be bitter. Eggplants are very perishable and get bitter with age. They should have firm, taut, smooth and shiny skins. Once the skin starts to wrinkle or you feel and see soft brown spots, the quality of the eggplant has lessened. Large, oversize eggplants may be tough, seedy and bitter. Hope this helps when you’re picking out your eggplant!
- ⅓ cup all-purpose flour
- 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
- 1 cup panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)
- 1- 2 medium to small sized eggplant, cut crosswise into 8 (1/2-inch-thick) slices
- kosher salt
- Cooking spray
- 1-2 cups marinara sauce (any kind); depending on how much sauce you want
- 4 slices of your favorite bread, toasted (I used rosemary bread)
- extra virgin olive oil
- 1-2 tomatoes, sliced
- fresh basil leaves; torn (using your fingers)
- about 4 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese, sliced
- freshly ground black pepper
- Preheat broiler to high.
- Set up dredging station: Place flour in a shallow dish. Place eggs in another dish and the panko in another. Sprinkle each eggplant slice evenly with salt on both sides. Dredge both sides of the eggplant slices in the flour; then the egg, and lastly in the panko. Place the breaded eggplant slices on a baking sheet lightly coated with cooking spray or on a prepared non-stick baking sheet. Broil the eggplant for 3 minutes on each side or until lightly browned. Transfer eggplant slices to a plate.
- Place marinara in a microwave-safe bowl and microwave on HIGH for 2 minutes or until hot; keep warm.
- Place your toasted bread slices on the baking sheet; lightly drizzle a little olive oil on each toast and top each slice with a little of the marinara sauce. Place 1 eggplant slice on each toast and then top the eggplant with 1 basil leaf, a slice of mozzarella cheese, a couple tomato slices and then finish with the remaining slice of eggplant (you’ll have 2 slices of eggplant per sandwich).
- Broil the eggplant stacks for about 3 minutes or until cheese is lightly browned, melting and bubbly. Spoon some marinara over each serving. Top with remaining torn basil leaves and season with freshly ground black pepper. Serve immediately.
Recipe adapted from Cooking Light.