A delicious, savory sandwich that originated from Italian immigrants in New Orleans. No wonder it's one of my favorites! Be sure to try out the recipe below, and I'm sure it will be one of yours too!
1 large eggplant, sliced into ¼ inch rounds
Whole wheat focaccia bread (enough for as many sandwiches as you want)
1 jar roasted red peppers
½ cup homemade pesto (see below) or store bought using whole ingredients
½ cup homemade olive tapenade (see below) or store bought using whole ingredients
1 ball of fresh mozzarella cheese
handful of arugula
Options – grilled chicken, turkey breast, artichoke hearts, grilled zucchini, grilled portobello mushrooms, etc.
For the pesto:
3 cloves garlic
1 cup fresh basil leaves, packed
¼ cup plus 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
¼ cup toasted pine nuts (don't have any? try substituting almonds)
¼ tsp pink himalayan salt (or iodized salt if you have hypothyroidism)
For the olive tapenade:
¼ cup Italian parsley, packed (don't have any? try substituting basil)
2 garlic cloves
½ cup kalamata olives (don't have any? try substituting green olives)
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1–2 tbsp capers
Preheat oven to 400F.
If using chicken, coat with EVOO, salt and pepper, then place on a prepared baking sheet in the oven for 20 minutes, flipping once halfway through.
While chicken is cooking, slice the eggplant into ¼ inch disks, brush with EVOO, season with salt.
Roast the eggplant in oven until golden and tender (about 10 minutes), OR grill over low heat for about 4 minutes on each side. After grilling, place slices in tin foil packet to steam and cook all the way through.
Make the pesto. Place all ingredients in a food processor and pulse repeatedly until you achieve desired consistency. Scrape out into a bowl.
Use the same food processor to make the olive tapenade. Add the parsley and garlic first and pulse until finely chopped. Then add the remaining ingredients EXCEPT for the capers. Pulse repeatedly until nicely chopped (but not smooth). Scrape out into a bowl, then stir in capers.
Cut your bread in half horizontally, place in the over for about 6 minutes to warm.
Take everything out of the oven, and spread pesto on the top and bottom halves of bread. Top with eggplant, roasted peppers, fresh mozzarella, olive tapenade, chicken and arugula. Drizzle with balsamic glaze and complete the sandwich with the top layer of bread, pressing down gently.
Serve immediately and ENJOY!