Grilled Eggplant and Mozzarella Sandwiches

Aired June 27, 2013

4 ciabatta or other crusty rolls, split
Optional ingredients to add to tomato topping: chopped, pitted black olives, capers, anchovy filets, red pepper flakes
2 cloves garlic, one finely chopped and one halved
Olive oil, for brushing and drizzling
1/2 small red onion, finely chopped
1 pint cherry tomatoes, quartered
Salt and pepper
2 firm eggplants, cut into 1/2-inch slices
8 slices Fior di Latte mozzarella or buffalo mozzarella cheese
16 to 20 leaves fresh basil

Heat a grill to high, an oven to 500F or an indoor grill pan over high heat.

Arrange eggplant slices on a kitchen towel or paper towels, salt them and let drain 10 minutes, turning once.

Combine tomatoes with onions and chopped garlic clove, and dress lightly with olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Add olives, anchovy filets, capers and/or red pepper flakes, if using.

Brush the eggplant with olive oil on both sides then cook to tender and browned, turning occasionally and basting with oil as needed, about 10 minutes on a grill or grill pan, 12-15 minutes in the oven. Once the eggplant slices are cooked, toast rolls alongside eggplant in the oven or char on the grill. Rub charred rolls with cut garlic clove and drizzle with oil.

To assemble the sandwiches, stack eggplant with sliced mozzarella and basil leaves. Top with lots of raw tomato sauce and set bun tops in place.

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