Eggplant and Goat Cheese Sandwiches

It’s mid-week. Energy is a little low.  Inspiration is very low.  The vegetable drawer is not low enough.  I bought a big eggplant at the market last Saturday and it needed a plan.  I already had some side leftovers from Monday (potatoes and squash) so the eggplant had to be the feature item.  Also in the drawer were two sweet banana peppers fresh out of my garden.  Can’t let the first peppers of the season languish.  What’s that?  The end of a bag of arugula.  Aha, and some goat cheese in the deli drawer.  So there you have it.  Dinner. Sometimes it’s not about the recipe. It’s about a new idea.

I know that sandwiches don’t generally require a recipe.  This one doesn’t either, but maybe a few notes about eggplant. Most of the time when people say they don’t like eggplant it’s the bitterness and/or sliminess that they’re complaining about.  You can avoid both.  First, choose a good eggplant.  Make sure there are no wrinkles on the skin.  The older the eggplant the more bitter it’s likely to be.  Then, slice your eggplant, lay it out on a clean towel or paper towels.  Sprinkle each slice with a little salt and cover with another towel or layer of paper towels.  After 5-6 minutes turn the slices over and salt the other side.  Cover again with towels.  Somehow the liquid that comes out brings the bitterness with it.   Now, to avoid sliminess just don’t overcook it.  My preference is to put a little olive oil in the bottom of a roasting pan; lay the eggplant in the pan in a single layer; roast it at 400 degrees for 20-25 minutes, flipping it half way through.  The eggplant will be a little toasted, but dry on the outside, when it’s done.

I’m sorry to say that I don’t have any good bread in the house.  That would have taken this sandwich from just good to approaching great.  I have potato rolls in the house.  Eh.  Serviceable.  In the end this was a really nice combination of flavors and textures.  The goat cheese is tangy and creamy, made better because the toasted bread made it a little softer.  The goast cheese on both pieces of bread also keeps every thing else from sliding off.  The eggplant has kind of a nutty flavor.  The arugula has a little peppery bite to it and a little crunch.  The pepper is bright and green and very crisp.  All good.  Tomorrow for lunch I’ll be added the last fried green tomato to the mix.  Yum.

So now you’re thinking, “What did she do with the rest of the eggplant?” Well, I put together an eggplant lasagna.  What’s in that?  Is it good?  I’m keeping us all in suspense until I get around to cooking and eating it.

Good? Much better than your average sandwich.
Easy? Definitely. Easy clean up too.
Good for company? Maybe if you’re packing a picnic.
Special shopping? Nope. Use whatever ya’ got.

Eggplant and Goat Cheese Sandwiches

Ingredients

(enough to make 4 sandwiches)
kosher salt
2 T olive oil
1 medium Black Beauty eggplant
4 sweet banana peppers, seeded and quartered longways
1 oz goat cheese
fresh arugula or spinach

Directions

Preheat over to 400 degrees. Slice your eggplant, lay it out on a clean towel or paper towels. Sprinkle each slice with a little salt and cover with another towel or layer of paper towels. After 5-6 minutes turn the slices over and salt the other side. Cover again with towels. Leave it another 5-6 minutes.
Coat a baking sheet or other shallow pan with olive oil. Lay eggplant on pan in a single layer. Bake 20-25 minutes, turning half way through.
Toast bread. Spread each piece of bread with a thin layer of goat cheese. Top with eggplant, sliced peppers and arugula.

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