Grilled Eggplant and Artichoke Panini
This panini was the centerpiece of our mother’s day lunch and was quick and easy to make (and can be prepped ahead of time) and can satisfy vegetarians and non-vegetarians alike. The artichoke caper spread is especially good and you could put it on a lot of different sandwiches- it would complement chicken or beef well too. You could even make it as a quick spread for some crostini.
This recipe can be make ahead of time, all the way up to the sandwich assembly phase, and wrap it and store it for a few hours before the final grilling. This recipe comes from Gourmet and serves 4.
2 T mayonnaise
6 oz marinated artichoke heart, drained and roughly chopped
1 T capers, drained
1 small clove garlic, roughly chopped
1 lb eggplant, sliced lengthwise into 1/4 ” slices
Olive oil for brushing
Salt and pepper
3-4 oz Fontina cheese, thinly sliced
1 loaf ciabatta, or smaller rolls
In a food processor, pulse together mayonnaise, artichoke hearts, capers and garlic until combined but still chunky. Set aside.
Preheat a grill or grill pan. Brush eggplant slices with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Grill eggplant until soft and tender, about 3-4 minutes on each side. Set aside.
Meanwhile, slice bread in half horizontally. Remove some of the inside bread so that the sandwich isn’t too bready- about 1 inch of thickness from each half. Brush inside of loaf with olive oil. Grill for about 2 minutes, cut side down, until grill marks appear, then remove from grill.
Assemble sandwich by spreading artichoke spread on one of the inside sides of the loaf, and layering the eggplant and fontina cheese. Place top half on sandwich and press together. Place on grill pan, pressing down on the sandwich with a spatula, until the bottom is toasted. Flip sandwich and grill the top until golden brown and the insides are heated through. Slice into 4 pieces and serve.