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Hot Tuscan Sandwich

INGREDIENTS:2 slices eggplant, grilled (see below)
2 ounces red onion, sautéed (see below)
1 ounce red bell pepper, roasted, cut into ½-inch strips
2 slices sourdough bread
2 Tbsp. olive tapenade (see below)
1 tsp. basil oil (see below)

Grilled Marinated Eggplant:
3/4 cup olive oil
1 ½ cup balsamic vinegar
2 tsp. dried whole thyme
1 tsp. red chili flakes
1 tsp. salt
½ tsp. ground black pepper
24 slices eggplant, ½-inch thick

Sautéed Red Onions:
2 large red onions, sliced into rings, ½-inch thick
2 Tbsp. olive oil

Olive Tapenade:
3/4 cup California black olives, pitted
3/4 cup Kalamata olives, pitted
2 Tbsp. olive oil

Basil Oil:
½ cup fresh basil leaves, clean
½ cup olive oilDIRECTIONS:For each sandwich, re-heat vegetables and toast bread slices on grill. Spread each piece of bread with olive tapenade. Place eggplant slices on top, cut in half if needed. Next, place onions over eggplant, and red bell pepper on top of onions. Drizzle with basil oil and serve.

For Grilled Marinated Eggplant:
Whisk together marinade ingredients. Add eggplant slices, and marinate for 30 minutes. Cook eggplant on hot grill until done, about 4-6 minutes. Return eggplant to marinade and refrigerate until ready to use.

For Sauteed Red Onions:
Sauté onions in olive oil over medium-high heat until soft and translucent. Refrigerate until ready to use.

For Olive Tapenade:
Place ingredients in food processor and pulse to chop finely. Refrigerate until ready to use.

For Basil Oil:
Place ingredients in blender and purée until very smooth. Refrigerate promptly.SERVINGS:One SandwichFrom:From: Lori Mason, owner, Longshoreman's Daughter, SeattlePHOTO CREDIT:Photo Credit: NATIONAL ONION ASSOCIATION

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