May 20, 2012

If Tangy Is the Same as Sassy, Then This Eggplant Sandwich Has a Whole Lot of Attitude

Right now in the baseball field across from my house, some seniors - we've now all finished classes and are celebrating "senior week" - are play a game of slosh ball. Slosh ball is kickball with a keg. Some of my friends are at the nearby Miller's Pond, no doubt basking in the sun, perhaps dipping into the cool (and always unusually colored) water. There is a continual group of seniors sitting on the lovely Foss Hill at the center of Wesleyan's campus, surely enjoying each other's company and as they gaze at the flowering trees which line the campus.

I've been in the kitchen, tackling a number of cooking tasks I've been meaning to get around to. That includes remaking this one of a kind eggplant sandwich.

Originally, Damiano and I made this as our inaugural sandwich in Spring 2011 for the Wesleyan Farmers Market Sandwiches. It then turned up as a post I contributed on Small Kitchen College. Finally, I'm bringing it to you all.

You're welcome.

I think I should pause. I don't want you thinking I've been holed up on the kitchen all week not enjoying the beginning of my last and final week at college. I've been to Miller's Pond. I even went swimming. And while I have not played any slosh ball yet, that has more to do with my limited sporting skills and less-than-perfect hand-eye coordination than it does with my enthusiasm for spending time with friends outdoors. I love my friends and the outdoors. A lot.

I just really love the kitchen. And if you were as fortunate as me you'd be spending at least a few hours of your senior week hunkering down with a baguette, an eggplant and a whole lot of culinary ingenuity. In fact, you'd probably be sautéing your eggplant in plenty of olive oil, softly laying it atop a warm baguette, and topping it with fresh baby spinach, pickled red onions and a tangy yogurt sauce with so much zing it would make a senior sloshed from a good ol' game of slosh ball yell:

Damn girl, that sandwich got some serious attitude.

Like I said, you're welcome.

An Eggplant Sandwich With a Whole Lot of Attitude
Makes 3 sandwiches
-about 1 cup olive oil, for frying, plus 4 tablespoons
-1 large eggplant, sliced into 1/3 inch rounds
-1 cup plain Greek yogurt
-zest of 1 lemon
-juice of 1 lemon
-1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds
-1 clove garlic, finely minced or smashed
-1/4 teaspoon chili powder
-salt and pepper
-1 baguette
-2 cups baby spinach
-1/2 recipe pickled onions

1. Heat a large saute pan on medium-high heat. Add 3-4 tablespoons of the olive oil and allow to heat. Working in rounds, saute the eggplant in a single layer for 2-3 minutes per side, until cooked through and browned. Remove to a plate and season with salt and pepper. Add more olive oil to the pan and continue sautéing the eggplant until it is all cooked. Set aside.
2. To make the yogurt sauce, in a small bowl, mix together the yogurt, lemon zest, lemon juice, fennel seeds, chili powder, salt, pepper and remaining 4 tablespoons olive oil.
3. To assemble, cut the baguette into thirds and cut each in half lengthwise. Evenly divide the cooked eggplant among each third. Spread on top of the eggplant a few tablespoons of the yogurt sauce, and top with the spinach and 5-6 rings of pickled onions. Eat at once.