It usually takes me a little while before I make a recipe from a recent magazine (at least a month or two), but immediately after reading the most recent issue of Cooking Light, I knew I wanted to make this sandwich. So I did. It wasn't as quick as I'd thought, since I somehow missed reading the step where you drain the eggplant, but it was still pretty quick as a whole. We both agreed that it was absolutely fantastic, and we loved it!!! I used romaine instead of arugula and only put tomatoes on mine. The aioli is delicious, though I'd double the amount they list or else you won't taste it (luckily, I doubled it!). The grilled onions were wonderful and the eggplant was very subtle but delicious. It is a definite make-again for us!
Grilled Eggplant Sandwiches with Red Onion and Aioli
Use a sliced loaf of good-quality Italian bread; its dense texture stands up to grilling. Sprinkle eggplant with salt; let it stand, applying pressure periodically, and rinse before grilling to leach excess moisture and bitterness.
1/4 cup light mayonnaise
1 tablespoon extravirgin olive oil
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 garlic clove, minced
1 (1-pound) eggplant, cut crosswise into 1/4-inch-thick slices
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
1 teaspoon chopped fresh parsley
1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary
4 (1/2-inch-thick) slices red onion
8 (1/2-inch-thick) slices Italian bread
8 (1/4-inch-thick) slices tomato
2 cups lightly packed arugula leaves
To prepare aioli, combine the first 4 ingredients in a small bowl, stirring well. Cover and chill.
To prepare sandwiches, arrange eggplant in a single layer on several layers of heavy-duty paper towels. Sprinkle both sides of eggplant with salt; cover with additional paper towels. Let stand 30 minutes, pressing down occasionally. Rinse eggplant with cold water. Drain and pat dry.
Combine thyme, parsley, and rosemary in a small bowl, stirring well. Lightly coat eggplant slices with cooking spray; sprinkle with herb mixture.
Arrange eggplant and onion on grill rack coated with cooking spray; grill 2 minutes on each side or until vegetables are tender and lightly browned. Remove from heat, and keep warm. Arrange bread slices in a single layer on grill rack coated with cooking spray, and grill for 1 minute on each side or until toasted.
Spread about 2 teaspoons aioli over 1 side of 4 bread slices; divide eggplant and onion evenly among bread slices. Place 2 tomato slices on each sandwich; top each serving with 1/2 cup arugula. Spread about 2 teaspoons of remaining aioli over 1 side of remaining 4 bread slices; place on top of sandwiches.
Yield: 4 servings
Photo added 7/14/2012: