#Secret Recipe Club: Baked eggplant and balsamic roasted tomato sandwiched with provolone cheese.
What a wonderful blog I was assigned this month with the Secret Recipe Club group : Tara’s Multicultural Table. For the uninitiated, the Secret Recipe Club is a group of around 100 food bloggers. Every month, we’re each assigned a blog to look through. We try a few recipes and chose one to post about. But all month long, we keep our assignment a secret until ‘reveal day’. It’s been a lot of fun – and I’ve found some great new blogs to follow and new recipes to add to my rotation!
Tara comes by the name of her blog honestly. She was born in Japan, spent her toddler years in Germany, and lived in Montgomery, Alabama for most of her childhood. Her husband’s family is Filipino, and now they live in Florida. I think one of the things I loved most about Tara’s blog were the photos of her and her family on her About Me page. I felt such love coming from every photo no matter who was pictured. The kind of love that lasts a lifetime.
And then there’s her food. It’s wonderful. Some of my favorites that I want to try were Chai-Spiced Mashed Sweet Potatoes (doesn’t that sound seriously good??), Sunomono (Japanese Vinegar Salad) – perfect for a summer BBQ, Fatayer bi Sabanekh (Lebanese Spinach Turnovers), and Strawberry Nutella Mini-Pies (without the nutella since we have nut allergies). But first up were these baked eggplant sandwiches. I fell in love with them as soon as I saw them, and fell in love again when I ate them.
Tara’s version calls for sun-dried tomatoes so I substituted my Balsamic Roasted Tomatoes and put 1/2 tomato on each sandie. I mixed some basil in with the parsley, and used my breadcrumbs mixed with my Quinoa Crispies and Parmesan cheese for the dredging mixture in place of Tara’s almond meal. Those pesky allergies keep getting in the way of great recipes — I’m sure these sandwiches are great with the almond.
For the Vegetarian – Omnivore Table:
Nothing, guys. Not one recommendation this time for you. Even Carivorous Maximus said these little sandies were killer. So keep these around for Meatless Monday for everyone at the table!
Serves: 4 large-ish sandwiches, 4 smaller sandwiches
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 1 medium globe eggplant
- 8 slices Provolone cheese
- 4 balsamic roasted tomato halves
- 2 tablespoons fresh Italian parsley, chopped
- 2 tablespoons fresh basil sliced into slivers
- 1 teaspoon Cajan spices (or other preferred spice mix)
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
- 2 tablespoons breadcrumbs
- 2 tablespoons Quinoa Crispies
- 4 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- 1 egg
- Balsamic Vinegar (optional)
- Slice eggplant into ½ inch thick disks and lightly salt. Place in a colander and weight with a nesting bowl. Let sit for 20-30 minutes. Lay the eggplant slices on layered paper towels and completely dry them.
- Preheat oven to 375˚F with the rack in the center of the oven. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Pair similar sized eggplant slices and arrange on the baking sheet. Place on half of the eggplant slices, place a slice of Provolone, and top with ½ roasted tomato (feel free to slice if you prefer).
- Mix the parsley and basil together and divide between the eggplant slices with the cheese and tomatoes. Sprinkle on the spices, salt and pepper, and top with the rest of the Provolone cheese and the other eggplants slices.
- In a small bowl, combine breadcrumbs, Quinoa Crispies and Parmesan. In another small bowl, beat the egg.
- Firmly hold each eggplant sandwich and coat first in the egg on both sides; then coat in the breadcrumb mixture. Place on the baking sheet.
- Bake for 20 minutes, flip, then for another 20 minutes, for 40 minutes total and golden on both sides.
- Serve immediately with a drizzle of balsamic vinegar - especially if your tomatoes don't have any balsamic. Trust me, it makes these babies taste meaty!