Grilled Eggplant Sandwich with Aïoli
These Italian sandwiches make a nice main dish for lunch or a light supper. The eggplant can be grilled a day ahead, refrigerated and then brought to room temperature before using. The aïoli can be made ahead as well.
- 2 large eggplants
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/4 cup mixed fresh herbs such as oregano, rosemary and thyme
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 6 chewy rolls
- 12 green leaf or red leaf lettuce leaves
- For the Aïoli:
- 3 to 5 cloves garlic
- 1/2 teaspoon coarse sea salt
- 3 egg yolks at room temperature (see Tip)
- 1/3 cup grapeseed or other mild oil
- 1/3 to 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- Freshly ground black pepper
Trim the eggplants and cut them crosswise into slices about 3/8 inch thick. You should have 12 slices in all. Combine the olive oil, herbs, salt and pepper in a shallow dish. Add the eggplant slices and turn to coat. Let marinate 1 hour or up to 3 hours.
Slit the rolls in half lengthwise and set aside.
To make the aïoli, combine the grapeseed oil with 1/3 of the olive oil. In a small bowl, pound the garlic cloves and salt together with a pestle and set aside. In a large bowl, beat the egg yolks with an electric mixer or by hand with a whisk.
Very, very slowly drizzle in about 1/2 teaspoon at a time of the oil mixture, gently whisking it into the egg yolks. Repeat this until a thick emulsion has formed. Once the emulsion has formed, continue whisking in the oil, about 1 teaspoon at a time until all the mixture is thick and most or all of the oil has been incorporated. If needed, whisk in a little more of the olive oil, if the emulsion will hold it. Gently stir in the garlic and salt mixture. Season a little with pepper. Cover and refrigerate until serving.
Prepare a charcoal or wood fire in a barbecue or preheat a gas grill. When the coals are ready, arrange the eggplant slices on the grill rack and grill until golden brown and a crust has formed, about 4 to 5 minutes. Turn and grill the other side until golden, another 4 to 5 minutes. Remove. In inclement weather, eggplant is equally delicious cooked on your stovetop with a grill pan.
To make the sandwiches, spread each roll half with some of the aïoli, top the bottom halves of the rolls with 2 slices each of grilled eggplant and 2 leaves of lettuce, then top with the other half of the roll.
Tip: For maximum food safety, please use in-shell pasteurized eggs or liquid pasteurized egg yolks.
Recipe reprinted by permission of Meyer Corporation, U.S.. All rights reserved.
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