A few days ago, I was flipping through Paulette Mitchell‘s cookbook, Vegetarian Sandwiches, when I found a recipe called Eggplant-Parmesan Poor Boys. I was intrigued. Since I had some leftovers from previous recipes, I thought this one looked pretty good. I had rolls from the recent Shrimp Rolls with Garlic, Lemon & Chives Recipe and some garlic mayo from the Garlic Spread with Avocado, Tomato & Mozzarella Sandwich Recipe. If I were to go ahead with the poor boys, all I would need is an eggplant, some spinach and some parmesan. During our last visit to the grocery store, we picked up those ingredients, along with some things for my homemade tomato sauce, and here I am.
If you enjoy tasty breaded eggplant sandwiches that are smothered in sweet tomato sauce and garlic spread, this recipe is for you. It does take a little time to prepare the sauce and cook the eggplant, but to make things more efficient, you can employ economies of scale. All this means is that if you’re going to have all sorts of bowls out to dip and bread eggplant, you may as well do a whole bunch of them. You can freeze any you don’t need and you’ll surely appreciate your efforts later on when you have more rolls on hand. The same is true for the tomato sauce. If you’re going to be cooking some, you may as well double or triple up and simply freeze what you don’t use.
This recipe is awesome. I truly love sandwiches and this one is great. It’s juicy and flavorful and fun to eat. The eggplant is crunchy from the baking and the parmesan cheese adds just enough flavor to bring things home. And like I said, if you can make extras ahead of time, putting something like this together can be really fast.
Makes: 4 Sandwiches
Tomato Sauce (Please follow this recipe)
Garlic Mayonnaise (Please follow this recipe – just add one clove of minced garlic)
2 Large Eggs
Regular Olive Oil
1 Large Eggplant, Peeled & Sliced 1/4 Inch Thick
4 Hoagie Rolls
4 Cups Spinach Leaves
1/2 Cup of Parmesan Cheese, Shredded
I suggest you make the sauce and mayonnaise first and then do all the prep. Having what you need at your fingertips will save so much time and headache. Not that this is difficult or anything – it’s just better to be prepared early on.
Pre-heat your oven to 425 degrees. Arrange the racks so one is on the center top and one is on the center position.
Go ahead and trim, peel and slice the eggplant to get the ball rolling. When finished, pile all the slices on a plate. Here’s a sample of what they should look like:
Next, crack the two eggs into one bowl and mix until they’re well combined. Then, add some breadcrumbs to another bowl and place it right next to the first bowl. I didn’t include a quantity of breadcrumbs for this recipe because I don’t want you to waste any. Simply add some to begin with and then incrementally add as you need more.
When the bowls are set, dip each piece of eggplant into the mixed eggs and then press each piece into the breadcrumbs so they’re well covered. Do this one at a time until they’re all finished. Pile on a plate for storage.
When you’re finished breading all the eggplant slices, add about 1 tablespoon of regular olive oil to each baking tray you use for this recipe. I used two trays, so I needed about 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Swirl the oil around on the trays so they cover the bottoms. Add more oil if necessary. The goal is to get even coverage.
Next, arrange the breaded eggplant slices on each tray and place them in the oven. Bake at 425 degrees for about 15 minutes, then, rotate the baking sheets inside the oven. Ovens have a tendency to heat some places more then others. After another 15 minutes, swap which racks the trays are on and flip the eggplant slices. Keep an eye on how brown they’re getting. Continue baking in 15 minute intervals, swapping and rotating until each piece of eggplant is perfectly golden. You can remove individual pieces that cook faster than others.
When the eggplant is finished, slice the rolls and place each piece in the oven for toasting. Keep them in there for only a few minutes because they can burn easily. After you remove them, add some garlic mayonnaise to the inside of each piece of roll.
To assemble the sandwiches, begin by adding some spinach to the bottom of each roll. If you like spinach, add lots of it. It’s up to you.
Next, add some breaded eggplant right on top of the spinach.
After that, spoon some of that delicious tomato sauce you just made on top of the eggplant.
Finally, add some grated Parmesan cheese to each sandwich and place the other half of the rolls on top.
I want you to take a look at these photos below and tell me you wouldn’t dive right into this thing. It was tough taking photos because I was getting more and more hungry during every passing minute. Good thing we have leftovers for tonight, so I can enjoy them all over again.
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