eggplant

Baked Eggplant Parmesan Sandwiches

We've ditched the deep-fryer and firing up the over for these Nonna-approved baked Eggplant Parmesan Sandwiches. Real crowd-pleasers, these sandwiches are layers of crusty bread smothered in homemade tomato sauce, golden baked tender eggplant, peppery arugula and melted mozzarella cheese.

Ingredients

Tomato Sauce

1 tbsp olive oil
1 small yellow onion, chopped
1 large garlic cloves, minced
1 tbsp tomato paste
1(28oz) can diced tomatoes, with liquid
1 tsp sugar
½ tsp kosher salt
½ tsp freshly ground black pepper

Eggplant Parmesan

3 medium eggplants, cut into 30 (½-inch thick) slices
1 tbsp kosher salt
¼ cup flour
¼ tsp kosher salt
¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper
3 eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup breadcrumbs
½ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

10 crusty sandwich buns
Baby arugula
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese

Directions

1) For the tomato sauce, in a large saucepan, heat oil over medium-low heat. Add onion, stirring 2-3 minutes until tender. Stir in garlic and tomato paste and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add diced tomatoes and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to low and simmer uncovered for 15 minutes. Remove from heat and using a handheld immersion blender, process slightly, leaving the sauce somewhat chunky. Season with sugar, salt and pepper.

2) For the eggplant, place the slices in a large strainer, sprinkle with 1 tbsp of salt, toss to coat and let sit for 30 minutes. Rinse the eggplant and dry well with paper towel.

3) Preheat oven to 425ºF and line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Place flour, salt and pepper in a large resealable plastic bag. Add eggplant slices and toss to coat. Place eggs in a medium bowl. In a large bowl, combine breadcrumbs and Parmesan cheese. Dip each slice of eggplant in the eggs and then in the breadcrumb mixture, coating both sides well. Place in a single layer on prepared baking sheets and spray the tops with non-stick cooking spray. Bake 12-13 minutes, flip the slices and continue baking for 12-13 minutes more, until eggplant is golden. Remove from oven and set broiler to high.

4) To assemble sandwiches, spread 2 tbsp of tomato sauce on the bottom of one sandwich bun, place a small portion of arugula over the sauce. Layer on 3 eggplant slices, 2 tbsp of tomato sauce and 3 tbsp of mozzarella cheese over the sauce. Heat under broiler until bubbly and golden. Remove from oven and add the top of the bun. Repeat with remaining sandwiches.

Yield: 10 sandwiches

Julie Albert & Lisa Gnat are thrilled to announce the launch of their newest cookbook, Lick Your Plate. It has received rave reviews and features over 160 recipes that are foolproof and fantastic. It's a fresh and fun cookbook perfect for the home cook and also serves up over 100 drool-worthy recipe images, countless tips and tricks, meal pairings, and leftover suggestions. On shelves now, buy your copy online.

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Authors of bestselling cookbooks Bite Me, Bite Me Too and Lick Your Plate, saucy sisters Julie Albert and Lisa Gnat love eating, feeding, entertaining and dishing up easy recipes at BiteMeMore.com.