Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Crispy Eggplant Sandwich with Roasted-Garlic Ricotta Spread

I love sandwiches.  They are nearly the perfect food. Many days I eat them for breakfast and lunch, but rarely do I eat a sandwich for dinner. This sandwich counts as dinner. The key to this particular sandwich is to get a good eggplant. The fresher the better. Look for a smooth skin and no soft spots. Here I pair the crispy eggplant with arugula, tomato sauce, and roasted garlic ricotta spread. You will need:

1 medium eggplant
1 cup of flour
2 1/2 cups of bread crumbs (throw in some herbs if you have 'em)
2 eggs beaten
1/2 cups of parmesan cheese
2 cloves of roasted garlic
1/2 cup  of ricotta
a couple of handfuls of arugula or spinach
Good quality tomato sauce (homemade is best)
good bread
Preheat the oven to 275 degrees. Slice the eggplant about 1/4 to a 1/2 inch thick. Dredge eggplant slices in the flour, the egg, and then roll them in the herbed bread crumbs. Arrange the Eggplant on an indoor griddle or large flat-bottomed pan over medium heat. Drizzle with olive oil, and allow the eggplant to brown on both sides. You are not cooking it through, just browning the bread crumbs. Work in batches if you need to. Transfer the slices to a large baking sheet and put them into the oven. The low heat will cook them through and retain the crispiness. 

Roasted garlic ricotta spread:
The fast way to roast garlic is to put the garlic cloves skin-on into a dry, hot skillet. Allow it to cook until the skin is black. Let it cool, and inside the burnt skin you'll find a soft smoky, sweet clove of garlic. Mix the ricotta, roasted garlic cloves, and parmesan together using a fork.

Throw your bread into the warm oven, and then toss the arugula with a tiny bit of oil and vinegar. Once the bread is warm assemble the sandwich like this: arugula, eggplant, tomato sauce, sprinkle of parm. Spread some RGRS on the underside of the top bun and you are in for a treat. 

I accidentally caused some confusion over the eggplant that I'd like to clear up. I'd hate for anyone to eat raw eggplant. I begin cooking the eggplant by pan frying it. This serves to brown the breadcrumbs, and cooks the eggplant somewhat. Do not burn the bread crumbs on the outside just to be certain that the inside is cooked, because the eggplant will continue to cook in the oven. 


brandi said...

oh man. this looks great! i may just have to whip this up for dinner. great twist on eggplant parmesan!

num num num...

Merry Beth said...

I am so impressed! I knew your photography was good but wasn't aware of this awesome culinary talent! I'm glad your brother posted this.

Hope all is well.

Merry B

Bianca said...

Yum! Love fried eggplant, and sammiches for dinner are the best.

BTW, I still don't believe you about the bourbon. Vomit, vomit, vomit. Now, give me a good tequila or vodka...that's what I'm talking about.

Suzypants said...

I'm a spazz in the kitchen and need to be told exact directions for everything. How long do you leave the eggplant in the oven for?

The Chubby Vegetarian said...

at that low temp you could leave it in for as long as you like. it takes about 15 or twenty minutes to get the rest of the dish together. that time should suffice.

-the chub

tavolini said...

Can't beat eggplant and tomato sauce! I've never cooked it at such a low temperature--you're sparked my curiosity :)

Anonymous said...

Looks awesome - it's been a while since I've fried up some eggplant.
-your neighbor-
tiffany c.

Unknown said...

We made this last night and it was amazing! The baked eggplant was so much better than fried! I was also impressed with how quick it is! Thanks for a great meal!