The Washington Post

Eggplant Parmesan Sandwiches

Eggplant Parmesan Sandwiches 2.000

Scott Suchman for The Washington Post; food styling by Lisa Cherkasky for The Washington Post

May 25, 2022

These saucy, cheesy, satisfying sandwiches channel all the joy of eggplant parm into a handheld package, no skillet frying required. Instead, we use a generously oiled baking sheet to “oven fry” sliced eggplant under the broiler. That saves time and effort, plus it allows you to pull together a quick sauce on the stovetop using crushed tomatoes.

If you don’t want to bread the eggplant, skip that step. Flip the eggplant after broiling for 10 minutes, and then broil a few more minutes until fully cooked. The meal is easily made vegan by leaving off the cheese or using your favorite nondairy option. You could even punt the sandwich concept entirely and use the sauce and eggplant to assemble a mini-casserole.

See the VARIATION below for an extra step that brings the spirit of garlic bread to the rolls.

Total time: 50 mins

Make Ahead: The sauce can be refrigerated for up to 1 week.

Storage Notes: The sandwiches are best eaten right away, but you can refrigerate leftover eggplant in an airtight container for up to 3 days; reheat in a 350-degree oven until warm and slightly crisped. Use for more sandwiches or other dishes.


Servings:
2

When you scale a recipe, keep in mind that cooking times and temperatures, pan sizes and seasonings may be affected, so adjust accordingly. Also, amounts listed in the directions will not reflect the changes made to ingredient amounts.

Tested size: 2 servings

Ingredients
  • For the eggplant
  • 6 tablespoons olive oil, divided, plus more as needed
  • 1 medium eggplant (1 pound), trimmed and sliced 1/2-inch thick
  • Pinch fine salt
  • Pinch freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup fine Italian breadcrumbs
  • 1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • For the sauce
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • One (15-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine salt, plus more as needed
  • Pinch crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
  • Granulated sugar, to taste
  • For assembly
  • 2 sub or hoagie rolls, halved lengthwise and toasted
  • 2 tablespoons finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, divided (may substitute vegan alternative)
  • Two (1-ounce each) slices mozzarella or provolone (may substitute vegan alternative)

Directions

Make the eggplant: Position a rack 4 to 6 inches from the broiler and preheat (use the high setting, if you have an option). Grease a large, rimmed baking sheet with 3 tablespoons of the olive oil, spreading it evenly with a brush. Place the eggplant slices in a single layer on the baking sheet, rubbing them on the pan to make sure they’re fairly well-coated with the oil. Season the eggplant lightly with salt and pepper, flip and repeat with seasoning and rubbing them around in the oil. If the pan and bottoms of the eggplant are looking dry, add a bit more oil.

Broil for 8 to 10 minutes, rotating the sheet from front to back halfway through, until the eggplant is soft and lightly browned in spots. Remove the pan from the oven and transfer the eggplant to a plate. Coat the pan with 2 tablespoons more oil.

Make the sauce: While the eggplant is cooking, start the sauce. In a 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat, heat the oil until shimmering. Add the garlic and cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant but not browned, 30 seconds to 1 minute. Stir in the crushed tomatoes, salt and red pepper flakes, if using, then reduce the heat to medium-low, maintaining a gentle bubbling. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the sauce has thickened somewhat and smells robust, about 10 minutes. Taste, and add more salt and sugar to taste, starting with a pinch, until you achieve your preferred flavor balance. Remove from the heat and reserve for assembly; you should have about 1 cup.

Return to the eggplant: Combine the Italian and panko breadcrumbs in a large, shallow dish, such as a pie plate, along with a pinch each of salt and pepper, stirring until uniform. Dip each slice in the breadcrumb mixture, pressing it onto the eggplant to adhere. Flip once. It’s okay to pile a little extra on top even if it doesn’t look like it’s going to stick — it will brown nicely and stay on once it’s broiled. As you work, transfer the slices back to the baking sheet. Drizzle the remaining tablespoon of oil over the top of the eggplant; if you run out, use a little more, as needed.

Still on high, broil the eggplant until rich, golden brown and bubbling, 2 to 3 minutes. The coating should be somewhat crisp, too, though don’t expect it to be exactly like skillet-fried eggplant. Flip the slices and broil again until golden brown, another 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer the eggplant to a plate if you plan to use the baking sheet for assembly, below.

Assemble the sandwiches:Spread 1/4 cup of sauce on the bottom half of each roll and place them on a baking sheet or oven-safe plate. (Feel free to use less if you want your sandwich less saucy. Any extra sauce is great for dipping or as a pizza topping.) Shingle a quarter of the eggplant on top of each sauced roll, 3 to 4 slices. Sprinkle 1 1/2 teaspoons of the Parmigiano-Reggiano on each sandwich, followed by another layer with the remaining eggplant, another 1/4 cup sauce and the remaining Parmigiano-Reggiano. Tear each slice of mozzarella or provolone in half and arrange the pieces on top of the sandwiches, covering as much of the sauce as possible.

Place the open-face sandwiches under the broiler for 1 to 2 minutes, until the cheese is melted and bubbly. Remove from the oven and finish the sandwiches with the top halves of the rolls. Cut in half and serve.

VARIATION: Slice the rolls open and brush the interior sides with olive oil. Broil on high, cut sides up, until the bread is golden and crisp, 1 to 2 minutes. Remove from the oven and rub the toasted surfaces with a clove of garlic. Then, assemble sandwiches as directed above.


Recipe Source

From Voraciously staff writer Becky Krystal.

Tested by Becky Krystal.

Email questions to the Food Section.

Email questions to the Food Section at food@washpost.com.

Nutritional Facts

Ingredients are too variable for a meaningful analysis.

Most Read Lifestyle