Thursday, January 22, 2009

Working Eater Series: Mozzarella and Eggplant Panini Sandwiches


A sandwich can make an easy, quick, and immensely satisfying meal. Therefore, even for a busy working person, a great meal is just a few bread slices away. But you don't have to settle for a boring, uninspired sandwich made from plain white Wonder bread and cold cuts. Here is my favorite vegetarian sandwich recipe, for fabulous mozzarella and eggplant panini sandwiches.

Mozzarella and Eggplant Panini Sandwiches
1 large eggplant, cut into 1/4 inch slices and salted, to taste
2 tbsp of olive oil
8 slices of onion or rye bread (preferably onion rye bread, from Trader Joe's)
12 slices of mozzarella (or enough for two layers on each bread slice, and can use sundried tomatoes, instead, if you do not eat dairy)
1/4 jar of marinara sauce (if you have marinara sauce leftover from making pizza or pasta, this is the sandwich for you)
Parmesan cheese, optional

First, heat a non-stick skillet and fry the eggplant in batches on medium-high heat, coating skillet with olive oil before frying each batch. Place the eggplant aside.


Next, smear one side of each bread slice with a coating of marinara sauce. On four of the bread slices, place a layer of mozzarella cheese, eggplant, and mozzarella cheese. If using Parmesan cheese, sprinkle a little on the surface of the eggplant. Finish the sandwiches by topping it with the remaining bread slices, with the marinara sauce side down. (We're making sandwiches here, so this process is pretty self-explanatory.)


Next, place the assembled sandwiches into a panini press or grill for less than 5 minutes on a medium low setting, depending on the strength of your panini press or grill. The sandwiches should be oozing with cheese, and warm, toasted, and golden-crisp on the outside.


And c'est tout! Serve the sandwiches with warm marinara sauce for dipping.

And if you liked this sandwich idea, check out some others from this site:

38 comments:

  1. If anything qualifies as drool-worthy, this is it. I love eggplant...and gooey....

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  2. I will so have to try this. I just got a panini maker and am raring to put it to good use. This looks right up my alley. YummY!!

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  3. PE, so sorry I haven't been able to respond to your comments on RM nor have time to leave much comments anymore, but wanted to wish you happy CNY. :)

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  4. Definitely put that panini grill to work Donna FFW, you will love it!

    No problem Rasa Malaysia, Gung Hay Fat Choy to you too!

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  5. Ooh, looks very filling and satisfying and very fitting for my goal to eat more veggies. I like eggplant a lot, but have a weird relationship with it; I gobble it up if I have it at a restaurant, but rarely ever make it at home (I have an irrational fear of cooking bitter eggplant, which is just silly).

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  6. The fear of bitter eggplant is a completely rational fear Marie! I've heard before that if you salt the eggplant beforehand (and let it release some liquids), it removes the bitterness. But don't quote me on that!

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  7. Eggplant/Aubergine! I have never seen a sandwich like this one. I'd try it as it looks terrific. KirkK is right, absolutely drool-worthy. (Those sexy stringy bits of cheese were pulling the drools!)

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  8. Haha, yes, I should have corrected myself Melinda, they are indeed called aubergines! I have several cookbooks that were published in the U.K., and they have metric measurements and call eggplants "aubergines" and colors "colours!" You are a wonderful mate (friend) Melinda!

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  9. What gourmet toasted sandwiches! Delightful!

    Cheers,

    Rosa

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  10. this looks so professional :) and all my favorite ingredients for way cheaper than the stores.

    i love your pictures. they are very inspiring.

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  11. I LOVE THIS POST! And you couldn't have taken a better picture. That melty thread of cheese bridging the two sandwiches is worth a thousand words.

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  12. This looks awesome. I am drooling.

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  13. I LOVE any kind of grilled sandwich/panini.... but eggplant? Oh no, I don't think I've gotten over my childhood distaste for eggplant, or what I call nature's cardboard. But hey, that grilled sandwich dripping in cheese and sauce looks like a winner! I'm going to sub out the eggplant and put in some thinly sliced chicken! :)

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    1. like you, i HATED eggplant as a kid, but thanks to some recent experiences with eggplant in Turkish food (while in Turkey) i have completely changed my attitude towards it. I will definitely try this recipie. Give eggplant a try again, you might like it.

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  14. I will pass on the eggplant - just mozzarella for me in the sandwich. :)

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  15. This looks amazing - I'm always looking for new ways to make eggplant, lately it's been all eggplant parmesan, all the time.

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  16. PE, I love eggplant and this looks so gooey and delicious! I have been wanting to get a panini press, must keep my eye out for one on sale!

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  17. so yummy! what beautiful work PE....eggplant looks perfectly carmelized. I love eggplant esp. grilled/lovely panini you made!

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  18. I had a hard time finding all the search engine sites to submit my blog url. I have made a free list. Go to step #4.
    Here is a great list of url submission sites.

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  19. Delicious looking! I love how crisp the outside gets on panini and gooey the centers are.

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  20. That sandwich looks so good!

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  21. Melted mozzarella is my biggest weakness, that first picture is totally droolworthy! :)

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  22. They are delightful Rosa's Yummy Yums! I hope you try them!

    Thank you Rlo, but this is not professional by any means! It is just a simple sandwich with great and satisfying results!

    Yes, a picture is worth a million words in this instance Elmomonster!

    I hope you try them Erin!

    Perhaps eggplant is an acquired taste Chef Ben, but try a meaty sort of sandwich filler as an alternative, like portabello mushrooms.

    Even with cheese, the sandwich should be tasty Tigerfish!

    Yes, eggplant is so versatile, and eggplant parmesan is a great standby! This sandwich is actually one of my favorites Sara, let me know if you try it!

    You can also use a George Foreman grill Foodhoe, or even a cast-iron pan and a oven warmed brick covered in foil to do the panini pressing.

    Thank you, I get my inspiration from you Taste Memory!

    It is definitely "yum" Farmgirl Susan!

    Thanks for the info, Anonymous!

    Oh yes, those are my favorite virtues of panini sandwiches as well Sara, crispy outside and oozing cheese.

    Thank you Kevin, I hope you find that it tastes good too!

    I agree with you Sig, cheese is my weakness as well! It is like my Achilles heel, but for my stomach!

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  23. Really, my stomach is growling right now while looking at that delectable picture. Thanks for sharing the recipe!

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  24. I've never tasted eggplant before. For my 1st try, I'd like this sandwich!

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  25. YUM YUM these paninni are true winners!!

    neki desu

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  26. I'm not big on eggplant, but I would happily scarf this down!

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  27. You're welcome Mona, I hope you try it!

    Rachel, some people say that eggplant is an acquired taste, but this would be a good way to venture into the eggplant world!

    Thank you Neki Desu, congratulations on your own blog award, it was quite a "win!"

    LadyRed, it will make an eggplant lover out of you!

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  28. Love this! I'm putting it on the menu for tonight!

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  29. I hope you enjoy it StickyGooeyCreamyChewy!

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  30. I love all the delicious food pics.
    I want to taste it .
    Thanks for sharing this great information.
    Keep posting...

    .... Mark

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  31. What an idea,
    Great tips, I would like to join your blog anyway,

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  32. how do I print the recipe without it being 7 pages?

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    1. You can try just selecting the text and "print selection" under the print menu. You can also cut and paste the relevant portion into a word processing file (Microsoft Word, WordPad, or Notepad) and print from there!

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  33. Thanks for this! Great food sensory !

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  34. I made this... so yummy...thanks for the recipe

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