My love for eggplant is not unknown to my readers. I frequently use it in sandwiches too. This particular preparation is heavily inspired by Caponata ( Sicilian eggplant preparation). I dare not call it a caponata sandwich because it does not have some of the key ingredients used in caponata ( mainly because they are not my pantry staple), but closely mimics it's flavors. It is a sweet and sour and slightly spicy eggplant preparation.
I saw Giada on Food Network make the caponata panini and really liked the preparation. I have been making my own version based on my families likes and dislikes. Here is the original recipe that was the inspiration.
Yellow onion - 1 medium diced small
Japanese eggplant - 1 diced small ( you can use any eggplant, if it is a big one use only half)
Green or red pepper - 1 diced small (I used half red and half green simply because that's what I had at home)
Tomato - 1 diced small
Red chilli flakes - 1/2 tsp
Apple cider vinegar - 1 tsp ( Red wine vinegar is preferred, I ran out of it)
Sugar - 1 tbsp
Oregano - 1 tsp
Mozzarella or provolove cheese slices - 8 or
Shredded cheese - 1 cup (1/4 cup per sandwich)
Ciabatta rolls - 4
Olive oil - 3 tbsp + extra for toasting sandwiches
Prep all the veggies.
Take 3 tbsp oil in a pan, add the diced onions.
Once they are translucent, add eggplant and peppers and salt to taste and mix well.
Once the eggplant softens, add tomatoes and cook till they soften.
Add vinegar, sugar, oregano and chilli flakes and mix well.
Taste and adjust seasoning.
It should taste tangy, sweet, salty and slightly spicy.
Heat an iron skillet (preferred for even heating and cooking).
While the skillet is getting hot, slit the bread and scoop out the center of the bread to create an indent to include more of the filling.
Add an eight of a cup of shredded cheese on each side of the bread, or add a slice of cheese on either side of the bread.
Fill generously with the eggplant mix, close the top of the sandwich.
Spread a few drops of oil on the skillet, place the bread and add a few drops of oil on the top and toast on both sides till the cheese melts inside.
Cut into two parts.
Enjoy a scrumptious sandwich!