Becky Luigart-Stayner
Yield
4 servings (serving size: 1 sandwich)

For these grilled eggplant sandwiches, use a sliced loaf of good-quality Italian bread; its dense texture stands up to grilling. Red onion and creamy aioli sauce put this flavorful sandwich over the top.

How to Make It

Step 1

To prepare aioli, combine the first 4 ingredients in a small bowl, stirring well. Cover and chill.

Step 2

To prepare sandwiches, arrange eggplant in a single layer on several layers of heavy-duty paper towels. Sprinkle both sides of eggplant with salt; cover with additional paper towels. Let stand 30 minutes, pressing down occasionally. Rinse eggplant with cold water. Drain and pat dry.

Step 3

Prepare grill.

Step 4

Combine thyme, parsley, and rosemary in a small bowl, stirring well. Lightly coat eggplant slices with cooking spray; sprinkle with herb mixture.

Step 5

Arrange eggplant and onion on grill rack coated with cooking spray; grill 2 minutes on each side or until vegetables are tender and lightly browned. Remove from heat, and keep warm. Arrange bread slices in a single layer on grill rack coated with cooking spray, and grill for 1 minute on each side or until toasted.

Step 6

Spread about 2 teaspoons aioli over 1 side of 4 bread slices; divide eggplant and onion evenly among bread slices. Place 2 tomato slices on each sandwich; top each serving with 1/2 cup arugula. Spread about 2 teaspoons of remaining aioli over 1 side of remaining 4 bread slices; place on top of sandwiches.

Step 7

Wine note: With vegetables we often think white wine, but grilled eggplant's smoky flavor and pleasantly bitter skin marries well with medium-bodied, rustic reds. Try a Tuscan blend like Tenuta di Arceno PrimaVoce 2003 ($20). The wine's cherry fruit has hints of leather and earth to amplify the herbal flavors of rosemary and thyme, while its vivid acidity balances the creamy aioli. --Jeffery Lindenmuth

Chef's Notes

Note: Sprinkle eggplant with salt; let it stand, applying pressure periodically, and rinse before grilling to leach excess moisture and bitterness.

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