“This bravura sandwich stimulates all the senses. Grilling the eggplant instead of frying it adds lightness and smoky complexity. Gourmet Magazine, September 2009 edition.”
READY IN:
1hr 45mins
SERVES:
4
UNITS:
US

Ingredients Nutrition

Directions

  1. MAKE TOMATO SAUCE:
  2. Purée tomatoes in a blender until very smooth.
  3. Heat oil in a 3-to 4-quart heavy saucepan over medium-high heat until it shimmers.
  4. Sauté onion and garlic with red pepper flakes until golden, about 4 minutes.
  5. Add tomato purée, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper and simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until thickened, 30 to 35 minutes.
  6. Remove from heat and stir in cheese.
  7. MAKE SANDWICHES:
  8. Prepare grill for direct-heat cooking over medium-hot charcoal (medium-high heat for gas).
  9. Brush cut side of rolls with 1 tablespoon oil total.
  10. Cut eggplants crosswise into 1/2-inch-thick slices.
  11. Brush both sides of slices with remaining 3 tablespoons oil and season with 1/2 teaspoon salt.
  12. Oil grill rack, then grill eggplant (covered only if using a gas grill), loosening with a metal spatula and turning occasionally to avoid overbrowning, until very tender, 6 to 8 minutes.
  13. Top eggplant (still on grill) evenly with half of sliced cheese, then grill, covered, until cheese begins to melt, about 30 seconds.
  14. Transfer eggplant with spatula to a large tray.
  15. Grill rolls (cut side only) until grill marks appear, about 1 minute, and transfer to tray.
  16. Transfer grilled rolls to 4 plates and spoon about 3 tablespoons tomato sauce onto each bottom piece.
  17. Top with eggplant, making 2 layers.
  18. Add remaining sauce, then top with basil and remaining cheese and close sandwiches.

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