Burgers aren’t the only reason to fire up the grill! A hearty veggie sandwich makes a satisfying and simple meal, and this recipe from A Couple Cooks and Village Farms evokes the fresh flavors of summer with Mediterranean flair. Village Farms Sinfully Sweet Campari® tomatoes, which are deep red and larger than cherry tomatoes, are used for this version, but you could use any fresh, ripe tomatoes.
4 to 6 Village Farms Sinfully Sweet Campari® tomatoes
2 medium eggplants, about 1 pound each
Extra virgin olive oil
½ pound fresh mozzarella cheese
¼ cup basil pesto (purchased or homemade)
¼ cup Kalamata olive spread or tapenade (purchased or homemade)
4 artisan hoagies (or 8 pieces of bread)
Basil leaves for garnish (optional)
Start the coals or heat a gas grill for medium direct cooking. Make sure the grates are clean.
Cut the eggplant into ½-inch thick slices. Brush each side with olive oil. Sprinkle the tops with kosher salt and fresh ground pepper. Grill for 10 to 20 minutes (depending on the grill), turning halfway through until tender and grill marks form. (Alternatively, you can use a grill pan on the stovetop: heat the pan and grill the eggplant slices until they are tender and grill marks form. Or, you can bake it using this method.) If desired, toast the bread in the remaining minutes on the grill.
Meanwhile, thinly slice the tomatoes and tear the mozzarella into pieces.
Assemble the sandwiches: Spread pesto on the cut side of one piece of bread, and olive spread on the cut side of the other bread. Place grilled eggplant on the bread, and top with mozzarella, sliced tomatoes, and basil, if using. Top with the other bread slice. If desired, wrap in aluminum foil to help contain the mess when eating!
Make ahead note: The sandwiches can be made a few hours in advance for picnics. If doing so, you may want to slice the tomatoes and let them sit on a cutting board for several minutes to drain excess liquid.