If you’re looking for a new way to jazz up eggplant parmesan, look no further than this eggplant parmesan sandwich!
It is almost exactly like my eggplant parmesan recipe but just in sandwich form!
I really have a weird aversion to eggplant.
As I have mentioned in the past, the only way my mom could get my brother and I to eat eggplant was to either fry it or coat it in this thick garlic soy sauce mixture.
I actually recently talked with her about that eggplant dish and it was funny how vividly she remembered our hatred for eggplant.
If you’re gonna do it, you gotta do it right.
What do I mean by that?
I mean, if you’re gonna make an eggplant parmesan sandwich, you need to do it right — just like you would the eggplant parmesan casserole.
How do I prep this eggplant parmesan sandwich?
The same way you prep the eggplant parmesan!
I’m telling you, everyone who has made it this way with this prep step has told me they will never make eggplant parmesan any other way.
You HAVE to pull the moisture out of the eggplant to get it crispy AND it takes the bitterness out of the skin.
How do you pull the moisture out of the eggplant?
Salt draws out the moisture so when you bread it and fry it, it is crispier because there is no sogginess killing that exterior breading.
ALL THAT WATER BEADING!
That is all the moisture getting pulled out — it’s what you want!
What kind of bread do you use?
You want a thick crusty bread.
You definitely don’t want to use a loaf of like Wonder bread.
You want a loaf of bread you pick up in the bakery.
Sourdough or a batard is best, but feel free to choose whatever bread you like.
Can you bake this?
Ehhh, I guess you could?
Skillet is probably better.
Can you use another kind of cheese?
A soft, easily meltable cheese is preferred.
If you don’t have mozzarella, you could use gruyere as an alternative.
Can you add meat to this?
Chicken cutlets would be a good edition if you’re looking for extra protein.
How do you get the bread crispy on the outside?
The trick is to use butter in the skillet as opposed to spreading butter on the exterior slices.
Jason actually taught me this.
It gives you an even brown and ensures you don’t miss any part of the bread.
How do you flatten the sandwich?
You can just use a heavy pan on top but I love this grill press.
It makes it so much easier.
And I use it to press the liquid out of my tofu, haha
Other eggplant recipes that you will love if you love eggplant parmesan:
- Eggplant parmesan
- Pumpkin eggplant parmesan casserole with burrata
- Eggplant, kale, tomato, and bacon panini
- Roasted eggplant dip
A take on the classic eggplant parmesan! If you're looking for another way to have eggplant parmesan, this sandwich is the answer!
- 1 small eggplant, sliced into 1/4" thick slices
- 2 tablespoons kosher salt
- 1 cup Italian seasoned breadcrumbs
- 1/4 cup parmesan cheese, grated
- 2 eggs
- 1/2 cup milk
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil, for lightly pan-frying
- 1 cup marinara sauce homemade or store-bought
- 1 cup whole milk mozzarella shredded
- Fresh basil leaves
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 12 slices crusty bread, sliced into 1/2-inch thick slices
Salt both sides of your eggplant slices and place them on a large baking sheet with a wire rack on top. Let the liquid drain for 30 minutes.
When your eggplant slices have finished draining liquid, pat dry with a paper towel and brush off the excess salt as you don't want it to be too salty!
In 2 shallow plates, add breadcrumbs and parmesan cheese to one (stir to mix up) and whisk eggs and milk in the other. Dip both sides of eggplant slice into milk/egg mixture then cover with breadcrumbs, shaking off the excess. Place the wire rack on the baking sheet you already used previously and repeat until all eggplant slices have been coated.
Heat a skillet over medium high heat and add 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil into the skillet. Once the skillet is hot, add two eggplant slices at a time to the skillet and cook on both sides until golden brown and eggplant is softened/mostly cooked through. Remove and set back on the wire rack. Repeat with 1 tbsp. of vegetable oil for every 2 eggplant slices.
To assemble the sandwich: on one slice of bread, spoon a thin layer of marinara sauce on top, then add the cheese, 2 eggplant slices, basil leaf, then more cheese, if desired. Top the sandwich with the other slice of bread. Repeat until all assembled.
In a clean skillet, add butter to the pan and turn the heat to medium. Once the butter has melted, place two or three (as much as you can fit) assembled sandwiches into the skillet. Let the cheese slowly melt and the bread get brown. Once bread is browned on one side, flip to cook the other side.
Repeat until all the sandwiches are cooked. Slice and serve!
Photographs by Erin Alvarez
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