Grilled Eggplant, Fontina,Tomato and Arugula…Sandwich?
June 3, 2011
With the burger grilling season upon us I like to include some grilled veggie options for my veggie loving friends. I find it hard to call it a grilled “sandwich”. The eggplant slices do function as the “bread” but it’s not a “sandwich” you’d want to hold in your hands to eat. Okay, maybe, if you don’t mind getting a bit messy. But then again, if Bobby Flay refers to this as a “sandwich”, then by all means, it is a sandwich!
I have followed his recipe using goat cheese and basil oil but this time I made it with fontina cheese and sage. It’s quite versatile and I find myself returning to this recipe often switching around the cheeses and herbs. When I have used a smaller, thinner eggplant, the stacks are more appetizer-like though I will serve this as a side, an appetizer or an entrée’. It’s wonderful served warm but just as good room temperature.
Grilled Eggplant, Fontina, Tomato and Arugula Sandwich
2 medium eggplants, cut crosswise into ¼ – ½ inch slices, 16 slices
2 tomatoes cut into ¼ inch slices, 8 slices
1/4 cup olive oil
4 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
8 ounces fontina cheese, thinly sliced
1/4 cup packed fresh sage or fresh basil, chopped or chiffonade the basil
Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
For the herb oil: Combine the olive oil and herbs in a food processor, season with salt and pepper. Process until pureed, about 5 minutes.
For the sandwiches: Combine the olive oil and garlic in a large bowl or ziplock baggie. Add the eggplant and allow to marinate for 1 hour, refrigerated.
Preheat grill or grill pan to high. Remove eggplant from marinade and shake off any excess. Season with salt and pepper, grill until golden brown and cooked through about 3 minutes per side. Place 8 eggplant slices on a work surface. Top with a slice of tomato, slice of cheese and a few arugula leaves. Cover with the remaining eggplant slices. Place on grill until cheese has softened about 1 minute. Arrange on a platter and drizzle with the herb oil and sprinkle on fresh chopped herbs.
I love being in the kitchen. Early mornings, soft music, a hot espresso. Easing into the preparation of delicious meals. Glancing through cookbooks, gathering inspiration and planning my day. I look forward to the cycles of the seasons, the pleasures of tasting and savoring and sharing this with those dear to me. Weekends are special to me as my week days are often rushed, but still I create the ambiance, light the candles, set the table and uncork the wine.