eggplant belongs to the nightshade family of vegetables, which also include tomatoes, sweet peppers and potatoes. eggplant peel contains an anthocyanin phytonutrient called nasunin. nasunin is a potent antioxidant and free radical scavenger that has been shown to protect cell membranes from damage. eggplants are a rich source of phenolic compounds that function as antioxidants. eggplant also contains many vital nutrients and are low in calories as illustrated in the following chart:
|(all nutrient facts and chart courtesy whfoods.com)|
davina cucina...salting the sliced eggplant to remove the bitterness and avoid soaking up a ton of oil. then you simply grill and marinate in a mixture of e.v.oo, garlic, red pepper flakes and black pepper. when you are ready to make the sandwiches, you will use that delicious, flavorful oil to brush on the bread prior to gilling. imagine golden brown toasted bread, garlicky spicy eggplant, melted cheese and fresh basil.... amazingly good and easy to make. you will serve this dish all summer!
|grilled eggplant slices marinating in the e.v.o.o. mixture|
grilled marinated eggplant sandwiches
(note, gilling times are approx. depending on how hot your coals are...experiment the first time keeping careful watch to see how long it takes you)
1 globe eggplant
1 cup extra virgin olive oil
6 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1-2 tsp red chili pepper flakes
fresh cracked pepper
sourdough or french boule or loaf
fresh mozzarella cheese, sliced
(optional, fresh heirloom tomatoes in season)
cut eggplant into slices approx 1 inch thick. place in a large colander and sprinkle generously with sea salt. let sit for 1-2 hours.
prepare grill. i prefer wood charcoal for this recipe, but a gas grill works well also. ( alternatively, you can make this using a grill pan indoors.)
use a towel to blot off all the liquid which accumulates on the eggplant (it is very bitter). brush slices with olive oil to prevent burning and grill approx 4 minutes per side. remove from grill and layer in a baking pan. cover eggplant with remaining olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt, crushed red pepper (i use 2 teaspoons, but go with one if you want it less spicy), garlic and cracked black pepper. allow to marinate for a minimum of 1 hour...but longer if possible...up to 4 hours.
cut bread into slices approx 1 inch thick. create sandwiches by layering a couple slices of eggplant and 1 slice mozzarella cheese between two slices of bread. brush some of the olive oil from the eggplant dish onto the outside of both sides of each sandwich. grill 3-4 minutes per side, just until the bread is golden brown and the cheese has begun to melt. remove from grill, carefully remove the top piece of bread (sandwiches will be hot) and add some fresh basil and a slice of tomato if using. replace the bread slice and serve immediately.
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