Ah, ’tis officially the season of last minute, panicked gift wrapping!
Hanukkah has passed, Christmas is coming soon, and the New Year seems to be right around the corner! I have been enjoying the beautiful snow, and now that my midterm exams are over (and my last onesever, if I may add!), I feel all warm and full of “the spirit of the season.” Not the “oh my god I am so stressed” feeling: to me, the holidays are no time for that. People need to focus less on gifts and more on enjoying their family, friends, and the present.
And in such a mood, I made this delectable sandwich!
Nutty, meaty eggplant is roasted until tender and golden, then layered onto salty ciabatta with smokey roast beef, fresh baby spinach, and rich muenster cheese. Grilled on the panini press until crunchy and hot, this sandwich is the perfect quick fix!
- 1 small eggplant (11 oz), washed and cut into ¼-inch rounds
- 2tsp olive oil
- 2tsp balsamic vinegar
- 1/4tsp salt
- 2 small ciabatta loves, cut into top and bottom halves
- 2tbl spicy brown mustard
- 2 oz thinly sliced lean roast beef
- 2/3c. baby spinach
- 2 (1/2-oz) slices muenster cheese
- Preheat oven to 350F.
- In a large plastic bag, combine the olive oil, vinegar, and
salt. Put the eggplant slices in the bag and zip it up; massage the marinade
all over the eggplant slices. Spray a large baking sheet with cooking spray,
and place the eggplant slices on it in an even single layer. Cook for 30-50
minutes, flipping after about 20, until cooked and tender. Remove from the
sheet and set aside.
- Preheat your Panini grill.
- Take the ciabatta buns and tear out about 70% of the inside
dough (creating a “cavity” in the middle of the bun). This is an optional step,
but it is something I always do with my sandwiches: you don’t miss the bread,
it allows the filling flavors to shine, and it saves carbs and calories.
- To build the sandwiches, spread each piece of bread with
1/2tbl mustard. On the bottom half of each to-be sandwich, place 1 oz roast
beef, half of the eggplant slices, 1/3c. baby spinach, and a slice of cheese.
Top with the top bun, and cook in the Panini grill until the crust is golden and