Eggplant Sandwiches with Herbs, Parmesan and Feta Cheeses
3 unpeeled small eggplants
1. Cut eggplant crosswise into 1/2 inch slices, about 12-16 slices total (enough for 6-8 sandwiches).
coarse sea salt
1 beaten egg
plain bread crumbs
1 tablespoon extra-virgin greek olive oil
1 tightly packed cup fresh basil
2 tablespoons finely minced dried thyme
2 tablespoons freshly grated parmesan cheese
1 clove garlic peeled and mashed
8 ounces mild feta cheese
freshly ground pepper
2 cups sliced marinated roasted pepper
2. Place eggplant slices in a bowl, add ice water to cover and 1 teaspoon of coarse salt.
3. Let soak for 30 minutes.
4. Drain eggplant and dry thoroughly with paper towels.
5. Dip slices into egg and then dredge lightly in bread crumbs, shaking off excess.
6. Heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.
7. Add eggplant slices a few at a time and sauté until nicely browned on both sides.
8. Transfer with a slotted spatula to paper towels and set aside.
9. Continue to sauté remaining eggplant slices, adding more oil to the skillet as needed.
10. Combine basil leaves, thyme, Parmesan and garlic in food processor or blender.
11. Add 3-4 tablespoons of olive oil and process until smooth.
12. Add Feta cheese and a large grinding of black pepper; process again until smooth.
13. Taste and correct the seasonings.
14. Transfer mixture to a bowl, cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes before using.
15. Before serving, spread a layer of cheese and herb mixture on each of the 6-8 eggplant slices with a small knife.
16. Top with roasted red pepper slices and remaining eggplant to complete the sandwiches.
17. Place eggplant sandwiches on a large platter, garnish with whole olives and basil leaves.
18. Serve at room temperature.
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