This recipe is awfully late, but a few things have delayed blogging these days. But alas, I am sitting here reflecting on our summer garden, which may have been small, but she was mighty…well at least in the eggplant department. Also, not in the true sense of productivity, but rather, we felt passionately productive when we could harvest any bounty from our 4×4 urban, shady plot…for which I am grateful. We plucked a red strawberry here and there, some jalapenos, and plenty of summer herbs. Things just seem to taste different when you grow them yourself, and I seem to handle them with much more care in the kitchen. I let our Japanese eggplants sit on the vine, went and visited them just about every day, and all the while thought about how I could best prepare those beautiful fruit. I needed them to be the stars. I had a flash feeling of myself embodying one of those horrible beauty pageant stage mothers, trying to best display her eggplant babies for their big show. Not quite, but you know what I mean. So, I came up with this beautiful eggplant Parmesan panini with a summer tomato and herb dip. This dish just screamed summer, and my oh my was that eggplant tender. She also won in the beauty category as well.
Eggplant Panini with summer tomato and herb dipping sauce…
sliced cracked wheat bread
1 Japanese eggplant, thinly sliced
organic breadcrumbs (Trader Joe’s has a nice consistency) or make your own
ground parmesan cheese
fresh mozzarella cheese
salt and pepper
1 tbs ground flaxseed and ¼ cup water (substitute for egg)
Combine ground flax seed and water, stir and let sit.
Combine organic breadcrumbs and Parmesan cheese, salt and pepper, and spread on a plate.
Then in a pan, heat olive oil over medium heat. Begin dipping eggplant slices into water/flaxseed mixture, then into breadcrumb mixture, and then into frying pan. Cook until crispy and then flip and repeat.
Lightly toast slices of bread in a panini press (or in a pan with a heatproof, weighted, pan on top to flatten the bread). Rub a garlic clove onto the bread, giving it a bit of flavor. Then assemble bread, eggplant, cheese, and some fresh herbs. Place back into the panini press until bread is crispy and cheese is melted.
salt and pepper
If you have an abundance of tomatoes in your garden, slice in half, drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Oven roast until just wilted and most of their water has been evaporated. Then in a food processor puree, add salt, pepper, and herbs. Blend until smooth in consistency.
If you do not have garden tomatoes you can use a can of San Marzano crushed tomatoes.
Serve along side sandwich for dipping.
Eat together, toast to each other, and share!