As a heat wave starts here, I’m starting to plan my cooking accordingly. Roasting chicken thighs and hardboiling eggs early in the morning for future easy lunches. Grilling veggies for quick salads, sandwiches or pastas. Today I grilled eggplant, green onions and cocktail tomatoes because I had an idea in mind. A lighter version of eggplant parmesan. In a sandwich. Then I also thought after walking back from my neighbourhood bakery with various breads for the coming week’s sandwich adventures, “I could do the eggplant parmesan idea two ways: One in a demi-baguette. The other sandwiched between two flatbreads as a quesadilla. Both worked great and the dressing can be a spread or a dipping sauce so more 2-for-1 ideas within the same recipe. Enjoy!!
Grilled Eggplant Parmesan Sandwich:
For the Grilled Veggies:
3 spring onions, white part cut away from the green part (reserve green parts for dressing later)
1 medium eggplant (about 350g/12 oz), cut into 1 cm slices
3 cocktail tomatoes, halved
3 Tbsp oil
2 Tbsp fresh summer savoury or thyme
On a large plate drizzle the oil and sprinkle with summer savoury. Blend with your fingers and spread the onions, eggplant and tomatoes over the herby oil. Grill on high (on an indoor grill) or medium high (on an outdoor grill) until deeply golden on both sides. The onions and tomatoes only take 3-4 minutes. The eggplant take 9-11 minutes. Transfer to paper towels to drain away the excess oil. Cut the eggplant into bite sized pieces. Cut the halved, grilled tomatoes into quarters. Set aside.
For the Creamy Pesto Dressing:
2 Tbsp prepared pesto (homemade or store bought)
1/4 cup plain yogurt
Green parts from 3 green onions (from above)
In a medium bowl, stir together the pesto, yogurt and green onions until smoothly combined. Set aside.
To assemble as a demi-baguette sandwich:
Prepared Grilled Veggies
3 Tbsp Prepared Creamy Pesto Dressing
2 cups fresh arugula
3 demi-baguette (or one regular baguette cut into thirds), split open, leaving one edge still connected
100g/4 oz gruyere cheese, thinly sliced
Preheat the broiler on your oven to high.
On a baking sheet, lay out the three demi-baguettes. Spread both cut sides of each baguette with the Creamy Pesto Dressing. Top with grilled eggplant, tomato and green onions. Top with slices of gruyere. Place under the preheated broiler for 4-5 minutes until the cheese is melted.
While the cheese is melting under the broiler, toss the fresh arugula with the remaining Creamy Pesto Dressing.
Take the sandwiches out from beneath the broiler, top with dressed arugula and serve. Serves 3.
To assemble as a quesadilla:
Prepared Grilled Veggies
1/4 cup Creamy Pesto Dressing
150g/6 oz gruyere cheese, shredded
Preheat a nonstick pan over medium heat. Lay one flatbread in the pan, sprinkle with grated gruyere to just cover the flatbread. Evenly spread one-third of the Grilled Veggies over the cheese. Allow to melt and toast the flatbread (about 4-5 minutes).
Transfer to the counter. Add another flatbread to the pan, sprinkle with cheese and allow to melt. Top this flatbread over the one with the veggies. Repeat with the remaining ingredients. Cut into wedges and serve with the Creamy Pesto Dressing as a dipping sauce. Serves 2-3 as a snack or appetizer.