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- 1 large eggplant, sliced into 1/4-inch-thick rounds
- kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 20 cloves garlic
- 1 cup neutral oil (such as canola or grapeseed)
- 1 stick unsalted butter, softened at room temperature
- 1 cup finely grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, divided
- 1/4 cup flat leaf parsley
- 1 (1-pound) loaf ciabatta bread, split lengthwise
- 1 cup jarred tomato sauce, warmed
- 1 ball burrata cheese, drained on paper towel to absorb excess moisture
- fresh basil leaves, for garnish
My family is obsessed with three things: chicken Parmesan, sandwiches and garlic bread. This recipe is inspired by all of those loves, but I'm giving it a meatless twist. The garlic bread provides incredible flavor and crunch, plus the eggplant is hearty and delicious making this a speedy yet exciting dish for entertaining or a casual night in.
Technique tips: Salt the eggplant before cooking to remove the excess moisture and ensure a crispier cooked texture. You do not have to salt eggplant to remove bitterness. Pan-fry the garlic cloves to speed up the cook time of the garlic for garlic bread.
Swap options: Ciabatta can be swapped for any other Italian loaf like focaccia or rustic Italian bread. Eggplant can be swapped for zucchini. If you can't find burrata, try using fresh mozzarella.
Preheat the oven to 425 F.2.
Place eggplant slices on sheet trays. Season the eggplant with salt on both sides and let sit for 5 to 10 minutes to remove excess moisture.3.
In a large, heavy-bottomed cast-iron skillet, cook garlic cloves over medium heat with a layer of neutral oil for 7 to 8 minutes, stirring occasionally until lightly golden. Using a slotted spoon or spider, remove the cloves from the oil and transfer into a medium bowl.4.
In the same medium bowl, smash the cooked garlic cloves with the back of a spoon into a paste. Add butter, 1/2 cup Parmesan and chopped parsley and mix to combine. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Spread garlic butter onto the split sides of the bread. Place loaf into the oven for 5 to 6 minutes or until golden and toasty.5.
Meanwhile, pat the eggplant dry and prepare a paper towel-lined baking sheet.6.
Heat reserved garlic-infused oil in a skillet over medium-high heat for 1 to 2 minutes until shimmering. Working in batches, add the eggplant in a single layer and cook 5 to 6 minutes per side, using tongs to flip, until golden. Remove from the heat and transfer to the prepared baking sheet. Repeat with remaining eggplant.7.
To serve, place a layer of torn burrata on the base of the garlic bread. Top with eggplant slices, drizzle with warmed tomato sauce and top with remaining Parmesan and fresh basil leaves.8.
Close the sandwich, slice into 6 (or 4 large) portions and enjoy!