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Grilled Eggplant Panini with Rosemary-Garlic Aioli

Posted By Erin, The $5 Dinner Mom On August 28, 2009 @ 6:40 pm In Garden,Grill,Recipes | 23 Comments

So that has GOT TO BE the fanciest recipe title I’ve come up with yet!

Because I used so much from the garden for this meal, I was able to be a little more creative and made up a delicious rosemary-garlic aioli sauce for these paninis! 

These were “UH-MAZING,” according to the Hubs! 

So if you’ve got an eggplant in the garden, or come across a great deal on eggplants…I highly recommend these paninis!!!!

Ingredients
1 eggplant (from the garden)
Dashes of salt
1 loaf pugliese bread, sliced ($2.50) I would have used ciabatta, but the loaf at my store had milk, so I opted for the dairy free option!
1 large ripe heirloom tomato (from the garden)
1 zucchini, thinly sliced ($.64) a little less than a lb…on sale this week $.77/lb!
1/4 cup mayo ($.20)
2 Tbsp lemon juice ($.05)
1 tsp olive oil ($.05)
2 garlic cloves, crushed ($.05)
Palm full of fresh rosemary (from the garden)
Salt/Pepper
4 slices of swiss cheese ($.75)
Handful basil leaves (from the garden)
2-3 tsp olive oil, for sauteing ($.10)
2-3 tsp olive oil, for brushing bread before grilling ($.10)
4 corn cobs ($.76) On an unadvertised sale for $.19 an ear!

Directions

1. Slice eggplant into 1/4 or smaller slices.

2. Lay them into a strainer and sprinkle both sides with a few dashes of salt.  Place the strainer in the sink and let sit for 30 minutes.  The salt will draw out the bitter juices and will give the eggplant a better flavor.

3. Meanwhile, slice bread into 1/4 inch slices.  I thought these would be too thick after I cut them, but they really “smoosh” down!

4. Slice tomato into semi-thin slices.

5. Slice zucchini into semi-thin slices.

6. Prepare Rosemary-Garlic Aioli sauce.  Whisk mayonaisse, lemon juice, olive oil, crushed garlic, chopped rosemary and salt and pepper, to taste.  (I had some leftover which the kids used to dip their extra bread pieces!)

7. After 30 minutes, the eggplant will have produced beads and become softer.  Pat dry and place in skillet with 1-2 tsp olive oil.  Saute for 3-4 minutes, then flip and saute the other sides for 2-3 minutes.  Once they have browned a bit, they’ll be ready for the sandwiches.  In the same skillet, add 1-2 more tsp olive oil and saute the slices of zucchini for 3-4 minutes, then flip and saute the other sides for 2-3 minutes.

8. On bread slices, add swiss cheese slice, basil leaves and the aioli sauce to the other bread.

9. Add sliced tomato, sauteed zucchini and sauteed eggplant.

10. Put sandwiches together.  (I had some 1 piece of extra bread and extra eggplants, zucchini, and tomatoes, so I made an open faced panini with the following layers, from the bottom up: bread, aioli sauce, tomato, basil, zucchini, eggplant and piece of swiss cheese.)

11. Add about 2-3 tsp olive oil to a plate and then press both of the sides of the panini into the olive oil before placing on the grill.  Place on the grill and carefully balance the brick on the top so that it won’t slide off.  Once the veggies and bread soften and come together, the panini will stick together.

12. Watch the panini get smooshed and the cheese ooze and melt!  Be careful to use a hot pad when handling the brick!  Flip the panini and grill both sides.

13. Boil corn in large saucepan for 4-5 minutes, or place in micrwavable dish with 1/4 cup of water and cover with plastic.  Microwave for 2.5 minutes for each ear of corn!

14. Serve Grilled Eggplant Paninis with Rosemary-Garlic Aioli and Corn Cobs. 

Cost $5.20


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