My husband and I just got back from spending four years living in South Africa. For the majority of it, we didn’t have TV–we just watched our shows online.Â So, we’ve loved having the noise of having the TV on while we work since we’ve been back in the States. He’s a web developer and I’m a freelance writer, so we both work from home. I’m really excited a new role I just started, as a staff writer for Go Green TravelÂ Green. I’l be sure to share upcoming posts with you.
Yesterday, my husband was totally captivated by Rachael Ray’sÂ CrispyÂ Chicken Parm BLT HeroÂ Sandwich. So, we decided to make a grocery store run and adapt it to be vegetarian by using eggplant instead of chicken.
We’re visiting my parents and when I told my mom I was making something with eggplant for dinner, she made herself a frozen pork sandwich. I tried not to be too insulted.Â But, even she was a fan after we finished these yummy sandwiches! I love when my husband and I can make dinner together–such a fun way to spend time together.
There are a few steps to make these, but the great thing is that you can use leftovers individually. The hero sauce can be used as a dip for veggies and the tomato sauce could be tossed with pasta. If you have extra breadcrumb mixture, you can always use that later, as well. So manyÂ possibilities!
Crispy Eggplant Parm Hero Vegetarian Sandwiches
adapted from Rachael RayÂ
For the TomatoÂ Sauce (you could also just substitute your favorite tomato sauce):
About 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
5-6 cloves of garlic, very thinly sliced
2 cans diced tomatoes (32-ounces total)
Sea salt, to taste
For the Eggplant Parm:
1 large eggplant
Salt and pepper
Flour, for dredging, in shallow dish
1 large egg, beaten in shallow dish
1 cupÂ homemade coarse breadcrumbs
1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
Zest of 1 lemon
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
Olive oil, for shallow frying
For the Hero Fixins:
1 cup cottage cheese
2 tablespoons fresh thyme, finely chopped
Zest of 1 lemon
A drizzle of extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
Sea salt and black pepper
1 pound fresh mozzarella cheese, thinly sliced
Lettuce for topping
2 vine-ripe tomatoes, sliced
Italian-style rolls with sesame seeds, split and toasted
Pre-heat oven to 375Â°F.
For the sauce: heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add garlic and stir until the garlic starts to turn golden, 3 minutes or so. Add tomatoes and sea salt. Simmer while you prepare the rest of the meal, be sure to stirÂ occasionally.
For the eggplant: Cut eggplant into thin slices. Set up three shallow bowls: one with the flour, one with the eggs and another with the breadcrumbs, cheese, lemon zest and garlic. Coat eggplant in flour, shaking off any excess then turn them in the egg and then finally in breadcrumbs. Fry in shallow oil over medium to medium- high heat until deeply golden.
For the hero sauce: Combine cottage cheese, thyme, lemon zest, olive oil and salt and pepper in your food processor. Blend until the lumps are out of the cottage cheese.
Put together the sandwiches:
Switch on the the broiler. Broil bread until it’s golden brown. Put eggplant directly on the bottom in this order: eggplant,Â sauce, eggplant, sauce, 2 slices mozzarella cheese. Broil until mozzarella is brown and bubbly. Top with lettuce and tomato. Slather bun top with hero spread and set into place.
These are mouth watering. I made them last night for dinner. And while I write this, my husband is using leftovers to make another round. They’re that good!