This recipe is long overdue, especially considering the sheer number of times I’ve made it over the last couple weeks. I saw it on the MOB kitchen website and knew I had to try it. Some recipes are like that – I’ll see it and I know we’ll love it. This was one such. Not to mention the fact that I’ll try anything with aubergines, cheese and tomatoes. That combined with the idea of taking your typical aubergine parmigiana and converting it into a sub? I AM IN.
A note on the bread: the pictures here are from the time I made these with ciabatta, but I’m happy to report that they work just as wonderfully over thick slices of sourdough. Basically, any crusty bread is good here; a regular sandwich loaf would get too soggy. Based on how thick you like your sandwiches and how chunky your bread is, you could also go the route of an open-face sandwich – in which case you’ll leave off the top slice. I also sometimes scoop out the insides of the base of the ciabatta to reduce the amount of bread. To get the right ratio of bread to filling. You may want to do this too.
The aubergines are first sliced and salted, and left to sit for 30 mins. This is a crucial step to draw out the excess moisture from them. (We want them to brown nicely in the pan and this excess moisture will get in the way of that.) Wring them before dredging in flour. The tomato sauce is pretty standard – onions, garlic, tomatoes, lots of basil, and seasoned with chilli flakes and oregano. Keep the sauce slightly thicker to make eating the sub more manageable. Either way not wearing a pastel linen shirt like I did is a splendid idea.
AUBERGINE PARMIGIANA SUB
- 2 medium aubergines
- ⅓ cup flour
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 5 tomatoes
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 3-4 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 teaspoon chilli flakes
- 1 ½ teaspoons dried oregano
- ¼ cup basil leaves, chopped
- 75 grams mozzarella, grated
- 2 tablespoons Parmesan, grated
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- Bread (ciabatta or sourdough)
- Slice the aubergines lengthways. Aim for ¼ inch thick slices. Add them to a large bowl and add 2 teaspoons of salt. Toss them with your hands making sure the salt is evenly distributed between all the slices. Set aside for 30 mins.
- Preheat the oven to 180 C and get out a large baking tray.
- Meanwhile make your sauce and grate the cheese. Sauce: blend the tomatoes (skins and all) to a smooth purée.
- Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil to a saucepan and fry the onions until browned. Add the garlic, chilli flakes and oregano and cook for a minute.
- Pour in the tomato purée and season with salt and pepper. Cover and cook until the sauce reduces down to almost a third of its original volume–about 15 mins. Stir in the basil and set aside to cool slightly.
- Squeeze the aubergines to rid them of their excess moisture. They’ll be very pliable after salting.
- Add the flour to a plate. Heat just enough olive oil in a pan to coat the bottom.
- Dredge the aubergine slices in the flour until coated on both sides. Tap off the excess flour and cook until golden on both sides. Add a bit more oil if necessary. Do this in batches adding a bit more oil for each batch. Set aside.
- To assemble: 1) Start with a layer of tomato sauce on the bread. 2) Add a layer of aubergine slices on the sauce, overlapping slightly if necessary. 3) Top with the two cheeses. Repeat one more layer in the same order.
- Lay them out on the baking tray. Bake until the cheese melts through–about 10-12 mins.
- Serve as a sandwich with another slice of bread on top, or as an open-face sub without it. Slice down in half if necessary. (Toast the top slice of bread separately if using.)