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Open-Faced Grilled Eggplant and Goat Cheese Sandwiches

This healthy-hearty sandwich stacks layers of smoky grilled eggplant, tomatoes, goat cheese, fresh basil, and olives on French bread. These grilled eggplant sandwiches are a great offering at any gathering.

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Preparation time: 20 minutes

Grilling time: 20 minutes

Yield: 4 servings

2 small, long eggplants, about 1 pound each

4 medium, ripe tomatoes (about 1 pound total)

1 loaf French bread, about 24 inches long

2 large cloves garlic

1/2 cup olive oil, divided

Salt and pepper to taste

2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar

4 ounces fresh goat cheese, at room temperature

Fresh basil

Kalamata or other cured black olives (optional)

  1. Prepare a medium-hot fire in a charcoal or gas grill.

  2. Cut off the eggplant ends.

  3. Lay one eggplant on a cutting board and, with a sharp knife, cut off a thin slice lengthwise.

  4. Repeat Step 3 on the opposite side.

    Discard these slices (they’re mostly peel).

  5. Slice the remaining eggplant lengthwise into 1/2-inch-thick slices.

  6. Repeat Steps 3 through 5 with the second eggplant.

  7. Core the tomatoes and slice crosswise into 1/2-inch-thick slices.

  8. Place the vegetable slices on a large baking sheet.

  9. Slice the French bread in half lengthwise and then in half again crosswise, making 4 slices, each about 12 inches long.

  10. Peel the garlic cloves, then crush or finely mince them.

  11. In a small bowl, combine 6 tablespoons of the olive oil and the garlic.

  12. Brush the cut sides of the French bread and both sides of the vegetables with the oil-garlic mixture.

  13. Sprinkle the vegetables with salt and pepper.

  14. Combine the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil with the balsamic vinegar; season with salt and pepper and set aside.

  15. Place the eggplant on a lightly oiled grid.

  16. Grill for 6 to 7 minutes per side or until tender and lightly browned

  17. Move the eggplant to the edge of the grid to keep it warm.

  18. Grill the tomatoes until warmed through, 2 minutes per side.

  19. Place the French bread slices on the edges of the grid, cut-side down

  20. Toast until golden brown, about 2 minutes.

  21. Transfer, cut-side up, to a serving platter or cutting board.

  22. Spread the goat cheese on the toasted bread slices, dividing equally.

  23. Lay the eggplant and then the tomato on the bread slices, covering the bread completely.

  24. Drizzle with the oil-vinegar dressing.

  25. Chop the fresh basil.

  26. Garnish the sandwiches with 2 tablespoons chopped basil and serve with kalamata olives (if desired).

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