We just had a wonderful lunch! Before I forget exactly how we made it, I thought I'd write it all down so I can do it again. I'll do it here on my blog so, if anyone is interested, you can try it yourself. It was soooooo yummy! Let's see....what shall I call it?...Hmmmm?....How about....
Wine Country Vegetarian Panini
1 Eggplant peeled and sliced into discs about 3/8" thick
1 Medium to large sweet onion sliced into thin rings
1 Medium to large tomato cut into thin slices
8 ounces Crimini mushrooms cleaned and sliced
8 ounces fresh mozzerella cheese, sliced
Roasted peppers (in a jar or prepared yourself)-Optional
Sourdough bread, sliced
Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, or your favorite red wine
Mayonaise - approximately 1/4 to 1/3 cup
Pesto - approximately 1 tablespoon - adjust to taste (I used a Trader Joe's Pesto)
Brush sliced eggplant with olive oil and sprinkle with salt (optional) and grill or broil until slightly tender. Turn them at least once during the cooking process.
Meanwhile, carmalize onions in a hot skillet with olive oil. When they are almost done, give them a splash of your favorite wine and continue cooking until the wine has reduced and has cooked almost completely away.
While the onions are cooking, sautee the mushrooms in a separate skillet with a bit of olive oil, stirring often, until they are tender.
Mix mayonaise and pesto to taste and set aside.
Brush one side of each slice of sourdough lightly with olive oil.
When all of the items are cooked, sliced, mixed, and spread you can begin preparing your sandwiches...
Heat a skillet with a bit of olive oil (it works great to use the skillet the onions were cooked in because it already has oil and a sweet onion flavor), place a slice of sourdough in the skillet, oil side down. Layer it, in order, with two or more slices of the eggplant (to cover the bread), two or more slices of tomato, onions, mushrooms, peppers (like, I said...this is optional...I don't like them but hubby does and said they were great in his sandwich), and top everything off with two more more slices of mozzerella cheese (this will hold everything in when it melts). On top of that you will spread the pesto/mayo mixture on one side of another slice of bread and place the pesto side down/oil side up on top of the sandwich. Press it all down with a spatula and grill until it is toasty brown and carefully turn it over to grill the other side to a golden brown. The ingredient list should provide enough to make four or more sandwiches, depending on the size of your bread and how much you you put into each sandwich. Enjoy!
I came up with this idea and the sandwiches actually turned out better than I had imagined. They were flavorful and juicy and oooooohhhhh, soooo good! The weather was beautiful again today. So, we spead the outside table with a beautiful red table cloth and enjoyed the warm sunshine, a delicious lunch, and family!
If you decide to try it, let me know. I'd love to hear what you think. I gave it this name because I used wine and we live near the Southern California Wine Country area of Temecula. Cheers!