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.
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.
Grilled Eggplant Sandwich with Tomato Pesto (Chutney)
- 1 ¼ Eggplant " - medium, cut into rounds
- 1 ¼ Red Onion " - medium, cut into rounds
- 4 Lettuce - leaves
- 4 Bread Multigrain - slices
For the Tomato Pesto (Chutney) -- Makes about 2~3 cups
- 1 28 oz . cans tomatoes of Fire roasted - drained (catch all the juice in a bowl, this can be used in other dishes)
- ½ cup Almonds Slivered
- 2 cloves Garlic
- 1 cup Mint - packed
- ½ cup Cilantro - packed
- 2 chilies Green
- 2 tbsps Red wine vinegar (or use lemon juice)
- 1 tsp red pepper Crushed (or per taste)
- 2 tsps Grape seed oil (use any other non-flavored oil)
- to taste Salt
- 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!!