Pairing note For this smoky version of eggplant Parmesan, Sam Calagione and Marnie Old looked for a beer and a wine that could stand up to the grilled eggplant without overwhelming it. Sam opted for Guinness. "People often think dark beers are heavy in body, alcohol and calories," he said. "I like that Guinness has roasty flavors but is still relatively light." Marnie chose a cherry-tinged Rioja mellowed by several years of aging: 2000 La Rioja Alta Vińa Alberdi Reserva.
Food & Wine JUNE 2008
Light a grill. Brush the bread on both sides with olive oil and grill over high heat until crisp on the outside but still soft inside, about 30 seconds per side. Transfer to a platter.
Brush the eggplant slices with olive oil and season generously with salt and pepper. Grill over moderate heat until charred on the bottom, about 5 minutes. Turn and grill until tender, about 3 minutes longer.
Top the eggplant with the tomato, mozzarella and basil. Cover the grill and cook until the cheese melts, 2 minutes. Transfer the eggplant to the bread, sprinkle with sea salt and serve.
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