Monday, September 14, 2009

Eggplant deliciousness. No, really.

So my mom and dad joined this co-op where they paid a certain amount and they get a cornucopia of locally grown veggies delivered to my dad's office every Friday. Well, we all thought it was pretty much a waste of cash at the beginning of the summer because there was a lot of clouds and a lot of rain and not much sun, which led to a pretty meagre harvest. Now, however, my parents are getting more than they can handle and have been dumping the extra food on us. Which is awesome.

So when we had a bunch of eggplant and yellow squash, C decided that it might be a good idea to roast them in the oven and put them in panini (or as I call them, being American, and not Italian, grilled sandwiches). I was skeptical at first, not sure whether a sandwich with nothing but veggies would be good. I've also never liked eggplant (except for when it is breaded and fired and covered in spaghetti sauce and cheese and therefore no longer tastes anything like eggplant). But I went along, figuring it couldn't hurt me to eat more veggies anyway, and eating local is never really a bad thing. Plus, I hate wasting food more than I hate eggplant.

So here's how it went down. In the morning, I cut the eggplant and squash into thick strips, sliced some red onion, and threw them all in a bowl with some olive oil. I seasoned it with some basil, oregano, time, garlic, and salt, and ground on some fresh pepper. Then I arranged them on a cookie sheet and stuck it under the broiler for about 10 minutes, flipping them after 5 or so. We stuck these in the fridge.

At dinnertime, we made our sandwiches. (C had made some gluten free bread for me, so I could be a part of this.) I alternated two layers of the roasted veggies with two layers of thickly sliced mozzarella, and then topped it with some thick slices of fresh roma tomatos. I seasoned the tomatoes with salt and pepper and drizzled them with a little red wine vinegar. Then it went into the panini press. I was honestly blown away by how good the sandwich was. Way better than I expected, and I actually enjoyed eating the eggplant rather than just tolerate it because it was surrounded by good flavors.

The real key, though, was the red win vinegar. It added just a little bit of kick, but it was sweet enough to match the tomato really nicely, and it just really woke up all the flavors. Awesome. I made another one to have for lunch. I did all the same thing, but I also put some sprigs of fresh parsley on top of the tomato. It was a good addition. And these sandwiches were surprisingly filling, for being only veggies. At first, I wondered if some turkey breast might be a good addition (Thanksgiving leftovers, maybe?), but I don't know if it even needs it. Eggplant really is more substantial than a garnish or a condiment.


Warren said...

I enjoy eggplant parmesan, Catherine should know how to make it.

JKC said...

It's true. Catherine makes really good eggplant parmesan. Until now, it was the only way I liked eggplant.

ke said...

I'm having a love affair with vinegar right now. I put it in a veggie soup (with eggplant in it) and it makes me want to cry--so satisfying somehow, the sweet and the tangy. Yes woke up the flavors. Sounds fantastic.

Anonymous said...