Baked Eggplant Sandwiches

Baked Eggplant Sandwiches

I have a ginormous cookbook collection. Not kidding. Remember that scene in Beauty and the Beast when the Beast ushers Belle into his grand library, with books from floor to ceiling? If not, here’s a refresher…

 

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That is exactly what my office looks like.

Okay, not really. But I do have hundreds of cookbooks, many of them vintage and out-of-print. I’ve been collecting for over a decade via Amazon, flea markets, antique shops, and used bookstores. Every so often I come across a gem of a book, one in which nearly every recipe inspires me. “The Food of Southern Italy” by Carlo Middione, published in 1987 (now out of print), is one of those rare books that draws me to the kitchen like a magnet. I cherish it.

Most of you know I’m a big fan of Mediterranean cooking, so Italian food is right up my alley. Carlo’s book is a bountiful collection of inspiring Italian ideas. Every time I flip through the pages, I’m struck by a gorgeous recipe that I must make. A couple of weeks ago I picked it up again. The weather was starting to warm up, which put me in the mood for Italy, Tuscany, olive oil, and fresh produce. This time, I found a promising recipe for “Eggplant Sandwiches.” The basic idea was mouthwatering… provolone cheese and mortadella sandwiched between two eggplant slices, breaded and baked. Obviously mortadella isn’t kosher, nor is mixing meat with dairy, so I started thinking about how I could modify the recipe. I had a small jar of oil-packed sun dried tomatoes in the pantry that I’d been wanting to use, along with some flat leaf parsley in the fridge. With a little creativity, I whipped up something utterly scrumptious. Friends were joining us for dinner that day, and a couple of them are keeping low carb, so I experimented with two coatings– a traditional breadcrumb coating and a low carb, gluten free almond meal coating. Both worked out great, so I’m posting both options here. More info on dietary modifications below. My guests were thrilled!

What I love about this recipe is how versatile it is. It can be served as an appetizer, a dairy side, or even an entree. They’re great on their own with just a sprinkle of fresh parsley. Topping them with a bit of marinara or arrabiata sauce makes them more entree-like… sort of like eggplant parmesan, but better. Crispy golden outside, warm gooey cheese and sweet sun dried tomato within. Buon appetito!

Dietary Modifications:

This dish is easily adaptable for a variety of dietary restrictions. For gluten free or low carb, sub almond meal for breadcrumbs. For nut free, use breadcrumbs. For vegetarian, use vegetarian (microbial rennet) Parmesan and provolone.

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Organic Olive Oil from Israel

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Baked Eggplant Sandwiches

Baked Eggplant Sandwiches

Adapted from: Carlo Middione's "The Food of Southern Italy"

Ingredients

  • 1 medium eggplant (1 lb.)
  • 5-6 oz provolone cheese, sliced thin
  • 1 small jar (8 oz) sun dried tomatoes packed in oil
  • 1/2 cup fresh chopped flat leaf parsley, divided
  • 3/4 cup breadcrumbs or 1 ½ cups almond meal (if nut free, do not use almond meal)
  • 3/4 cup finely grated parmesan cheese (if using almond meal, 1 1/2 cups)
  • 2-3 eggs
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 1/4 cup marinara or arrabiata sauce (optional)
  • Nonstick cooking oil spray or more olive oil for greasing the baking sheet
Total Time: 1 Hour 20 Minutes
Servings: About 10 eggplant sandwiches
Kosher Key: Dairy
  • Slice the eggplant into rounds slightly thinner than ¼ inch.
  • Place the rounds into a colander and sprinkle them with salt. Let the eggplant sit for about 30 minutes to draw out moisture and bitterness. Rinse the rounds and pat them dry with paper towels.
  • Place rack in the middle of your oven and preheat to 375 degrees F. Place the eggplant rounds on a flat surface, lining them up in rows with like-sized slices paired together. Tear the provolone into small pieces. Cover half of the eggplant slices with a layer of the torn provolone.
  • Drain the sun dried tomatoes of their excess oil. Place a sun dried tomato on top of each of the provolone-covered eggplant slices. Divide half of the fresh chopped parsley between the eggplant slices, sprinkling a little parsley onto the top of each sun dried tomato. Season the piled slices with salt and pepper.
  • Use the rest of the empty eggplant slices to cover the piled slices, making small eggplant sandwiches.
  • In a medium mixing bowl, mix together the breadcrumbs or almond meal and grated parmesan. If using almond meal, you will need twice as much of the breading mixture (twice the almond meal, twice the parmesan), as the almond meal tends to clump a bit during the breading process. The parmesan should be finely grated to a powdery texture; if your parmesan is shredded, pulse it in a food processor till powdery. In a small mixing bowl, beat the eggs (start with 2—you may or may not end up needing one more). Grease a nonstick baking sheet. Gather the eggplant sandwiches, two bowls, and baking sheet together.
  • Grab one sandwich at a time, grasping firmly in the center to hold it together. Dip the sandwich in the beaten eggs, making sure it is completely covered on all sides with a thin layer of egg. Let any excess egg drip back into the bowl.
  • Immediately coat the sandwich in the breadcrumb or almond meal mixture, making sure to coat the sides and edges evenly. Place the breaded sandwich on the greased baking sheet. Repeat till all sandwiches have been dipped and breaded.
  • Drizzle the coated sandwiches lightly with the olive oil, dividing it evenly between the sandwiches.
  • Bake in preheated oven on the middle rack for 35-40 minutes, flipping once halfway through baking, till the sandwiches are golden brown. Serve them warm sprinkled with the remaining chopped parsley. Optionally, top each sandwich with 2 tbsp warm marinara or arrabiata sauce, then with parsley.

Comments (42)Post a Comment

  1. Carlo’s restaurant/gourmet take out shop in San Francisco, Vivande, had THE BEST cheddar cheese crackers. They were amazing. His, and Vivande’s, presence is missed in San Francisco.

  2. Is it possible to give nutritional information with the recipes please? Many of us are dieting and it would be helpful. Thank you.

    1. Hi Karen, I don’t currently offer calorie breakdowns on my recipes. The nutrition calculators available online are not always reliable, and nutrition stats of various ingredients can vary from brand to brand (sodium content, calories, etc.). There are calorie calculators online you can use where you can plug in the specific brands you use. Just Google “calorie calculator” and you should get many results.

    1. Hi Irma! Yes, panko can be used, however certain types of panko crumbs won’t “brown up” in the oven as well as they do in a frying pan, so the coating may not look as golden. I say “may,” because some panko will brown up… it just depends on the variety you buy. However, I will say that plain old breadcrumbs are totally delish here, so there’s really no need to splurge on panko.

    1. I don’t currently offer calorie breakdowns on my recipes. The nutrition calculators available online are not always reliable, and nutrition stats of various ingredients can vary from brand to brand (sodium content, calories, etc.). There are calorie calculators online you can use where you can plug in the specific brands you use. Just Google “calorie calculator” and you should get many results.

    1. Sometimes I use a mixture of Veganaise and water to make the right consistency. You could probably do Veganaise and oil too, now that I think about it, that might work even better. Gives it a good flavor too.

    2. I make delicious eggplant chips using mayonnaise in place of egg. Messy but yummy, breadcrumbs stick without any effort – don’t use low fat mayo though.

    3. Oops, sorry Patel I was on auto pilot …..I guess you don’t eat mayo either….feeling dopey over here!

    4. making a vegan egg:
      This recipe makes the equivalent of 1 egg.

      3 Tablespoons water
      1 Tablespoon white chia seed meal

      1)Grind the chia seeds into a meal in a blender or spice grinder. You may want to grind a larger amount and store it for future use. Like flax oil, chia seeds are extremely perishable so if you grind a larger amount for later use, store it in an air-tight container in the freezer for up to one year. 1 cup of chia seeds equals about 1 1/3 cup of flax meal.

      2)Add the water to a small bowl or cup. Add the chia seed meal and mix together with a whisk or fork. Let the mixture sit for 5 to 10 minutes so it develops a goopy texture similar to a raw egg. Warm water will speed up the ‘goopifying’ process.

      i hope you like it
      you’re welcome ;)

  3. Hi Tori,
    This looks delicious, thank you! Just wanted to ask about how much salt to use when salting the eggplants – is it a light sprinkle or more liberally? I once tried to salt an eggplant and it came out way too salty, despite having rinsed it. Thanks for your help!

    1. Hi Tara, just a light salting is fine. If you’re concerned about salt you can also cut the salt in the interior of the eggplant sandwiches (on top of the cheese), or only salt those very lightly. Enjoy!

  4. I made these yesterday! They were excellent! I found I needed only about half the specified amount of cheese & breadcrumbs… but perhaps I wasn’t as generous as I could be! In any case, they were delicious, and even delicious the next day, since we had some left over.

  5. The name of your blog had me dyin’. From one shiksa to another…nice work.

    And great googly moogly but do these sandwiches look good. (Just to add something at least remotely useful here, LOL.)

  6. How much of this recipe could be prepared in advance? Could one go so far as to pre-bread the “sandwiches” early in the day, putting them in the oven at the last minute? Thanks so much for your great recipes!

  7. These look so good! Do you think they would taste OK if I left the cheese out, and just made an eggplant-sundried tomato sandwich? I’m looking for a way to make this parve. Thank you, your blog is AMAZING!

    1. Thanks Michelle! Of course you can leave out the cheese but it won’t taste the same. I would perhaps add some roasted peppers and roasted Portobello mushrooms to the filling for added flavor. Enjoy!

  8. I was trying to decide what to do with an eggplant I had, and I found this easy and delicious recipe. I adapted this recipe with what I had on my pantry, so I used white cheddar instead of the provolone, corned beef and marinara sauce instead of the sun dried tomatoes, and “El mexicano” breadcrumbs with chipotle (which surprisingly have very little heat, just enough so you can detect it). The results were awesome, and I my husband’s tummy was very happy. Thank you for this recipe. I’ll definitely keep it among my favorites ^^
    link to instagram.com

  9. Delicious! I was wondering what to do with eggplant. This is the first year I’ve grown them in my garden. I used mozzarella in the middle and a thin slice of fresh tomato. Marinara made from my homegrown tomatoes and basil topped each sandwich. I think I’m in love. I really enjoy your site, the food reminds me of our trip to Israel, unforgettable. Thanks!

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