Eggplant has become a recent favorite food over the last 2 years. Before that I just never gave it a second thought. It’s an under rated vegetable and that might be due to the trickiness of cooking it. There’s acid in eggplant so it’s good to press some of the juice out to remove the bitterness. Grilling eggplant is one of the best ways to cook it just because it chars the eggplant and gives it a smokier flavor. I chose some roasted tomato slices to compliment the eggplant along with fresh mozzarella and olive tapenade. The roasted tomatoes were especially good because they are in between fresh and sun-dried. The tomato is concentrated like a sun-dried tomato but it remains just juicy enough to eat on a sandwich. It was so good! I really liked all the flavors together and I will definitely make this again.
Grilled Eggplant Panini with Roasted Tomatoes and Olive Tapenade
(makes 3 sandwiches)
- 1/2 eggplant (about 6 slices), skin on and sliced thin
- 3 tomatoes, sliced thin
- 10 slices mozzarella
- 6 slices bread
- 1 batch tapenade
- olive oil
- salt and pepper to taste
- Place the eggplant slices between two layers of paper towels and put a heavy object on top. Let sit for about 30 minutes, changing the paper towels halfway through.
- Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 375F and place the tomato slices on a flat pan. Coat with olive oil and a little salt and pepper and roast for about 12 minutes.
- Brush the eggplant slices with olive oil and grill for about 5 minutes on each side, until soft and lightly charred.
- Place a few tablespoons of tapenade onto the bread slices and add the tomato, eggplant and mozzarella.
- Brush the panini/foreman grill with olive oil and cook until the cheese has melted.