Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Eggplant Croques Monsieurs

Every Thursday at work I go through Dr.R's newspapers for articles to file and then I recycle the rest. Occasionally I see a Food Section and I swipe it to look at. A few weeks ago I was looking through the New York Times, from October 17, and saw this delicious-sounding recipe for an eggplant sandwich. I got it from the NYT website later and tonight I decided to make it.

We had some delicious bread from Panera and some delicious tapenade from Trader Joe's. Dinner came together quickly and we had it with tater tots. I didn't use fresh parsley, and I used baby swiss instead of Gruyere because Gruyere is always so expensive!

We both liked it but agreed that it wasn't amazing. My complaint was that the eggplant completely disappeared and it was like it wasn't even in the sandwich. Some complained that it was too "olive-y" for his tastes. We won't make it again but we did enjoy it, and I will enjoy eating the rest of the tapenade with some pita bread for lunches this week (yum yum!)

Eggplant Croques Monsieurs
1 eggplant, about 1 1/2 pounds
Kosher or sea salt
4 to 5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Freshly ground black pepper
4 tablespoons black olive tapenade
1 tablespoon minced flat-leaf parsley leaves
6 ounces Gruyère cheese
1/2 round-loaf country bread in 12 thin slices or 6 flat oblong rolls split horizontally.

1. Trim bottom inch and top 2 inches off eggplant. Cut widest portion of eggplant into 6 slices, each about 1/2-inch thick. Set remainder of eggplant aside for another use. Salt eggplant slices on both sides and set aside for 30 minutes, then rinse and dry.

2. Heat 2 tablespoons oil to very hot in a large, heavy skillet. Fry eggplant slices until lightly browned. Turn slices, lower heat to medium and fry until eggplant is lightly browned on second side and cooked through. Place on paper towels. Season with pepper. Mix tapenade with parsley. Spread on one side of each eggplant slice. Cut cheese into thin slices.

3. Place an eggplant slice, tapenade-side down, on each of 6 slices of bread. Top with cheese, then second slice of bread.

4. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in skillet. Cook sandwiches, cheese side up, over medium heat, pressing down with a spatula until lightly browned. Turn and cook, adding oil if necessary. Alternatively, sandwiches can be grilled in a panini press. Cut in half and serve.

The fancy camera was unavailable so I took this crappy picture with my camera, so I apologize:

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