Monday, January 31, 2011

A Pressing Matter

Roasted Tomato and Eggplant Paninis With Smoked Mozzarella
I know that it's only January and I should really be expecting weeks and weeks more of mist, gloom, and chilly nights, but lately the weather has been tricking me. On two of my runs last week, I didn't even have to wear the sweatshirt, gloves, and hat I have become accustomed to donning since October. Blue skies. Bright and windless days. The nights, however, have been another story. The minute that sun sets the fog rolls in and I am ready to cozy up to a steaming bowl of soup and some sort of delicious toasted sandwich. I've been getting a lot of wear out of my panini press over the last few weeks and this was my latest creation. Inspired by a ball of smoked mozzarella cheese I found on a recent Trader Joe's outing. There are very few ingredients in this meal, but they are all extremely flavorful and served with a hot bowl of tomato soup make the perfect pairing to an evening in.


- 1 large eggplant, sliced into 1/4" rounds
- 3 large tomatoes sliced to 1/4" thickness
- olive oil
- salt and pepper
- herbs d' Provence
- 8 slices of good quality sourdough bread
- 8 oz. smoked mozzarella, sliced into disks

Preheat oven to 400˚F. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with foil. Arrange eggplant and tomato slices onto foil. Drizzle with about 1/4 c. olive oil, and sprinkle with salt, pepper, and herbs d' Provence. Roast in oven for about 30-40 minutes until vegetables soften and shrink. Remove from oven and set aside.

Heat panini press to high. Brush one side of each piece of sourdough with olive oil. Turn olive oil sides down. Top four of the bread slices (oiled side down) with cheese, several pieces of eggplant and tomato, another slice of cheese, and top with a remaining piece of bread, oiled side up. Cook sandwiches on panini press until they turn golden brown and cheese becomes melty and delicious.

Serve with your favorite tomato soup.

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