This is the second dinner post in a row, but when Andrea asked about a recent counter photo I posted on Instagram, it reminded me of another good meal we had recently. (You can usually tell the really good ones when my husband comments on the photos later.)
You know that my husband is a vegetarian, and he’s pretty adventurous with food in general. But I still think that I’m probably the least picky eater in the house. I absolutely crave good food – particularly good fruits and vegetables – more than dessert or bread or cheese or meat. M’s not a huge fan of foods that have a bland, rubbery texture, or that can go soggy quickly. He’ll eat mushrooms, but he doesn’t do cartwheels over them like I do (if I could actually still do a cartwheel). Eggplant is the same thing – not top on his list.
So last week he was looking over the meals we got from Blue Apron* and he laughed and said that every meal had something that he wasn’t crazy about. But the thing is, we almost always love the dishes after they are made**. I’m pretty sure that I can now say that Blue Apron has brought me (slowly) aboard the fennel train. And I have a new found love for eggplant following this recipe. So, if you are like Andrea and have some eggplant in your CSA box, or picked some up at the farmer’s market this weekend (because it’s abundant right now), then this is the recipe to try out.
Good bread is key here. The ciabatta bread they sent us was delicious. So get your favorite ciabatta bread from your neighborhood bakery or grocery store. You want that crisp outside but soft inside to really squish down under a press. And you spread the marinara sauce on the bread, so you also need a bread that’s not going to yield to the pressure or get soggy. There’s really no magic performed on the eggplant – it was just really, really tasty with everything else on this sandwich. (We had extra eggplant that I diced up with some pasta for lunch.) And I’d recommend doing that side salad with it – we used caramelized sliced plums and went easy on the dressing so that the mustard didn’t overwhelm. Really great accompaniment to the sandwiches – this salad will be a repeat. I heart arugula.
*I swear I don’t work for Blue Apron.
**Blue Apron does not even know I exist.
***We made these sandwiches last weekend, kind of late, and after the girls had eaten dinner at birthday parties with friends. We put them on a tray and caught up on some old episodes of This Old House while we ate – we’re still on the Charlestown house from late spring / early summer, maybe. Anyway – if you watch that show it’s SO much like the work we did on our house – tying the bulging brick back into the wood structure, excavating the basement dirt floor to pour a new slab, carting material wheelbarrow by wheelbarrow. It’s a lot of fun to watch with E because she can see the madness that came before her. And when they installed all the steel in the back wall for the kitchen addition – well, stay tuned, because we’ll be doing some of that here soon.