By Lee & Lou Havlicek.
Lee & Lou Cook.
Sooo… See that golden, toasty, savory piece of perfection frying up right there? Melty cheese peeking out, tucked between two slices of crunchy-on-the-outside, creamy-on-the-inside…
That’s right, these little Italian guys aren’t your typical grilled cheese sandwiches—they’re eggplant sandwiches. Instead of bread, we’ve got breaded eggplant snuggling up with juicy tomatoes that have been cooked down into a quick sauce with sweet onions and garlic and fresh herbs, and of course, cheese, delicious cheese, in all its hot, melty glory.
You might think of these as a kind of miniature quicker, snackier eggplant parms. Way easier, too—an added bonus for those of us that love to eat it but don’t love spending hours cooking, frying, assembling, and baking… and then waiting. So much waiting. Have you ever made eggplant parm? Maybe not. But have you eaten it? More of you have probably eaten it than made it because guess what? It’s so, so delicious, but it. takes. for-ev-er! And most days (all days?), we don’t have that kind of Italian-grandma patience.
So, how nice to not spend hours upon hours in the kitchen and still get something oh so similar, and just as—possibly more—amazing. Instead of a tray of eggplant parm, which can be too heavy, too soggy, and as mentioned, too labor intensive, you wind up with a perfect package of vegetables and cheese, fried and gooey, packed up together so nice and neat… well, sort of neat. At least it starts out that way. But once you dig in, things get delightfully messy. Which is just fine with us.
You could certainly wrap these up in parchment for a way above average on-the-go lunch. Or you could serve a stack as an oooh-inducing, hearty appetizer. They’re perfectly sized and assembled to be eaten out of hand, after all. But these sandwiches also make a fantastic main course, served with a salad or vegetables on the side, for any lunch or dinner. They’re filling, warm, and super delicious. What more could you want from your meal on a late October day?
And as with so many of our favorite recipes, though the end result looks, smells, and tastes just as good as you could hope, the making is incredibly easy. Actually, there isn’t even really a recipe. It’s more of an assembly list. We have general guidelines for proportions and steps, but like making any other kind of sandwich, everything is pretty loose and can be personalized, increased, decreased—whatever you want or need.
Our sandwiches get suited up and popped in the pan fast as can be. And after just a few minutes of frying, they can go right on your plate (or hand) and into your mouth the moment their cool enough to handle… which is a key part of the equation that we often skip in our excitement, even for as short of a wait as these sandwiches require. A thought process, or lack thereof, to be immediately followed by the “hot! hot! hot!” song and accompanying dance—our version involves lots of hand waving, audible exhaling, and occasional hooting.
So if you can manage to wait a minute or so in between these sandwiches leaving the pan and giving them a try, well done you.
We’ll be over here making our eye-bulging WHY DO I ALWAYS PUT TOO-HOT CHEESE IN MY MOUTH faces, but loving every bite… For the recipe, and oh so much more Lee & Lou click here.