Thursday, July 26, 2012

Recipe: Tuscan Eggplant Sandwich

A man can live and be healthy without killing animals for food; therefore, if he eats meat, he participates in taking animal life merely for the sake of his appetite. And to act so is immoral. – Leo Tolstoy

There's a lot going on in the sandwich.
Can sandwich filling be “filling” if it doesn’t contain meat? That’s a common complaint about many vegetarian dishes. People often say that they feel hungry far sooner than when they have meat as part of their meal.

Well that doesn’t have to be the case. This sandwich proves my point. Nothing with “a face” was harmed in the creation of this wonderful sandwich.

Frying eggplant imparts a smoky flavour.
Layers of fried eggplant nestle between fried bread sprinkled with tart, fruity balsamic vinegar, with cheese, tomatoes, roasted red peppers, basil… As you can see, the flavours in this just keep building and building.

By the way, not all balsamic vinegar is created equal. The better quality your vinegar the better your sandwich will be. It really makes a difference.

If you’ve never had oil and balsamic as an appetizer at an Italian restaurant try it. It's in something a simple as this where good quality ingredients really shone.

Mix some extra virgin olive oil with some balsamic in a flat dish. Dip fresh crusty Italian bread in it and enjoy. It’s amazing, and addictive.

I had to paint a room last night (about 3 hours) – we’re soooo close to getting the house on the market it’s pathetic – so I needed something fast, nutritious and delicious for dinner. It’s pretty easy to find a wide range of recipes to choose from on the Web if your search parameters are clear.

This recipe is based on one I found on My google search parameters were “fast healthy recipe”. Simple, eh? This meets all three.

Nothing boosts the flavour of a sandwich like a whole
layer of basil.
Tuscan Eggplant Sandwich
Prep: 15-20 min  |  Serves 4
1 9x9 ciabatta bread, or similar Italian
olive oil
balsamic vinegar
1 large eggplant
2 roasted red peppers
200g grated mozzarella
2 medium tomatoes, sliced
basil leaves
arugula greens, or other greens
salt and pepper

Lay out some paper or other surface to assemble the sandwich. It’s a messy venture.

Slice the ciabatta in half and brush with some olive oil. Brown the faces of the bread in a very hot frying pan. Remove to the prep surface and sprinkle with some balsamic vinegar.

Slice the eggplant into 1/2 inch thick rounds. Season with salt and pepper. Add some olive oil to the pan and fry both sides until well browned.

When I say eat your greens I obviously mean it...
Then start to assemble the sandwich, while the eggplant is still warm so it melts the cheese, in this order:
1. one layer of greens on the bottom piece of bread
2. half of the eggplant slices
3. half of the grated mozzarella
4. the roasted red peppers
5. remaining eggplant slices
6. remaining mozzarella
7. a layer of basil leaves
8. the tomato slices
9. salt and pepper to taste
10. some more greens
11. sprinkle liberally with balsamic vinegar.

Close up the sandwich, press down and cut into four equal pieces.

This sandwich is a quick way to put a fairly nutritious meal on the table in a short amount of time. 


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