A while back I browsed through sandwiches on Epicurious.com, which is odd for me as they are not something I think about. Nothing against sandwiches, but I have only one sandwich post on this blog, out of 500 posts! So that says something…
However, I was planning food for a get-together where I needed a make-ahead, picnic-type, easy-to-eat food. I thought that a sandwich, perhaps in the barbecue category, wrapped in foil and kept warm, would be the easiest for me; the sides could be made the day ahead.
And there it was, while I was browsing – a barbecue eggplant sandwich. I had to click on it – the name was so intriguing.
Plus, I have Japanese Ichiban eggplants growing in my garden.
What a unique way to use eggplant, besides eggplant parmesan, ratatouille, and baba ganoush.
Barbecue Eggplant Sandwich
Adapted from Epicurious
Eggplant (about 1 1/2 pounds total), trimmed and sliced lengthwise into 1/2-inch thick planks
1/2 cup BBQ sauce*, divided
1 teaspoon garlic pepper, or favorite seasoning
8 ounces mushrooms, sliced
1 small red onion, halved and sliced into thin wedges
2 tablespoons olive oil
8 slices provolone cheese
4 soft rolls
1/4 cup mayonnaise
Position oven rack six inches from the heat source and preheat broiler.
Brush eggplant slices on both sides with 2 tablespoons BBQ sauce and season with 1/2 teaspoon garlic pepper. Arrange slices on a sheet pan.
Broil eggplant until browned and soft, about 4 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, toss mushrooms and red onion with oil, remaining garlic pepper and reserve.
Remove broiler pan from oven, flip eggplant slices, and brush with 2 more tablespoons BBQ sauce.
Scatter mushroom mixture around the eggplant on the pan and broil until browned and soft, about 3 minutes more.
To assemble the sandwiches, first toast the rolls using a little butter and a hot skillet.
Then brush the top toasted half of each roll with 1 tablespoon mayonnaise.
Lay the cheese on the rolls. Because provolone are circular, I cut them into narrow slices.
Layer an eggplant slice and some mushroom mixture on the bottom of each roll.
Close the sandwiches and serve immediately. You can drizzle a little more barbeque sauce in the sandwiches if desired.
The original recipe suggests using some thinly sliced pepperoncini inside the sandwiches, but I prefer them on the side.
Once I bit into this sandwich I knew I’d be making it again. Especially with a vegetarian in the family.
An added slice of bacon would please anyone insisting on a non-vegetarian sandwich.
But seriously, with the meaty eggplant and mushrooms, meat will most likely not be missed.
* Typically I make my own barbecue sauce, but there is one jarred product which I sincerely love, and that is Head Country, made right here in Oklahoma. The original is wonderful – not vinegary, not sweet – and now there are other varieties as well. The hot and spicy is incredible. Just use the barbecue sauce that’s your fave!
Also, if you ever need to keep sandwiches warm in an oven or warming drawer, try these foil wrappers. I used them when I was catering large, casual events, and they are a perfect size for a sandwich like this!