Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Healthy Italian Hoagie

My husband often reminisces about his days in Hoboken, New Jersey, when he could walk to the corner store and get himself an Italian sandwich, piled high with capicola, prosciutto, and fresh mozzarella. I'm not sure that gobs of salty, fatty meat would win as much esteem with my heart, but I can nonetheless appreciate a good sandwich.

Given that it is Jersey tomato season, and eggplant and basil are also plentiful, I thought I'd take a crack at my own version of an Italian sandwich, healthy style. So here goes:

Healthy Italian Hoagie
1 whole grain Italian bread or French baguette
homemade basil pesto
safflower oil spray
1 small eggplant (you could use the ordinary black variety, but the skin is tough on those. I used my zebra eggplant from the farm. Japanese eggplant would also do nicely, though you might need two of those), sliced thin, lengthwise
salt & pepper, to taste
1 large heirloom tomato (any color), sliced into thick rounds
8 oz. fresh mozzarella, thickly sliced

Cut the bread lengthwise into two halves. Toast in the oven at 400F for 5-10 minutes.

Spray a large cast iron skillet with safflower oil, and heat over high heat. Coat the eggplant with oil on both sides of each slice and season with salt and pepper. Once the pan is hot, reduce heat to medium and grill eggplant for 2 minutes on each side.

Slather both halves of the bread with a generous amount of pesto. Then pile the grilled eggplant, tomato, and fresh mozzarella. Season with salt and pepper. Cut into individual portions.

Serves 3.

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