May 31, 2012

Grilled Eggplant Sandwich with Tomato Pesto (Chutney)

This month, my blog completed 6 years. I wanted to celebrate by making some sweet, as is the Indian tradition, but lack of time has let me down. But I wanted to celebrate in my own way by making my favorite eggplant sandwich (you know I'm all about simple pleasures :0) ). Actually I was looking for recipes to make for Dish It Out: Eggplant &Tomatoes event and this one seemed like the perfect fit for both the event and the celebration.

This is a very simple sandwich with toasted bread spread (rather generously) with the tomato pesto (chutney) and layered with grilled eggplants, onions and lettuce. Pesto was so good that I was eating that by spoonfuls before I made the sandwiches.
 
If outdoor grilling is not your thing, veggies can be grilled on stove-top grill pan or roasted/ broiled in an oven or even sauteed in a saute pan. If you don't like eggplant (but why wouldn't you eat an eggplant......hmmmm), then you can substitute with zucchini or peppers. Don't let anything stop you from making this yummy sandwich, especially the pesto.

I used canned fire-roasted tomatoes for the pesto, but if you have abundance of good fresh tomatoes, then slow roasted tomatoes would taste excellent too. Pesto recipe is a fusion between Italian pesto and Indian chutney, you will see why from the ingredients and the method I used to make it. This is a great accompaniment to many Indian dishes like idlis, khichdi and even plain rice.


Ingredients: (makes 2 sandwiches)
Eggplant - 1 medium, cut into ¼" rounds
Red Onion - 1 medium, cut into ¼" rounds
Lettuce - 4 leaves
Multigrain Bread - 4 slices

For Tomato Pesto (Chutney): Makes about 2-3 cups
Fire roasted tomatoes - 1 28oz. can, drained (catch all the juice in a bowl, this can be used in other dishes)
Slivered Almonds - ½cup
Garlic cloves - 2
Mint - 1cup, packed
Cilantro - ½cup, packed
Green chilies - 2
Red wine vinegar - 2tbsp (or use lemon juice)
Crushed red pepper - 1tsp (or per taste)
Grape seed oil - 2tsp (use any other non-flavored oil)
Salt - to taste
 
Method:
  • Make the Pesto: Gently toast the almonds on medium-low heat until golden. Keep aside.
  • In the same pan, heat 1tsp oil and add the herbs, green chilies and garlic cloves. Cook until the herbs wilt, about 4-5 minutes. Keep aside to cool.
  • In a food processor, grind the almonds to smooth powder. Add all the other ingredients and grind until smooth. With the processor running, add the grape seed oil to form a smooth paste. Remove into a container and get ready to grill.
  • Prepare the Eggplant: Put the eggplant rounds on paper towels lined baking sheet and salt them liberally. Put more paper towels on the top; dabbing on them occasionally and let sit for at least 30 minutes. 
  • Grilling the Veggies: In a small bowl, add olive oil, dried mint, salt and pepper. Brush the eggplants and onions with the oil on both sides; grill on preheated grill under cooked through - about 4-5 minutes per side.
  • Assemble the Sandwich: Grill the bread (if desired). Slather tomato pesto on bread, layer with 2 lettuce leaves, (lots) of grilled eggplant and onions. Press the sandwich lightly to compact everything and enjoy!!
 
On this 6th blog-anniversary, I would like to thank all my readers for visiting my blog, leaving your valuable comments and making my space special to me. 

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6 comments:

  1. yum! what a gorgeous sandwich! and happy anniversary! what an accomplishment!

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  2. Happy blog birthday and I want to wish you many many more years of celebrating food in this space. This summery sandwich looks so tempting.

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  3. Wonderful sandwich, seriously drooling here.

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  4. Happy blog anniversary!
    Cheers to this lovely space of yours..may you have many more such milestones :)

    I love eggplants and ofcourse the fire-roasted tomatoes..such a flavorful combination :)

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  5. I would love if you had a Pin It for Pinterest! I was about to add this to of my boards but the images aren't matching with your post. :-(

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  6. I appreciate the versatility of eggplants. I love it fried with a little lemon and soy sauce. I also like the way you celebrate your anniversary by being unique and doing away with sweets...but celebrating it your own way. This looks special indeed. Congratulations!

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