Monday, September 17, 2012

The "LEGENDS from EUROPE" Eggplant Parmigiano Toscana Panino

An Italian, osteria-style sandwich featuring real Parmigiano Reggiano Cheese from Italy

The classic flavors of Eggplant Parmigiano in a panino!

"LEGENDS from EUROPE"  is a campaign designed to promote the five high-quality products from Italy : Grana Padano, Parmigiano Reggiano, Mantasio, Prisciutto di Parma and Prosciutto di San Daniele.  The product I was given to create with for the Market Basket Recipe Contest for Bloggers is Parmigiano Reggiano Cheese.

 This cheese elevates this gooey, cheesy eggplant grilled panino by way of an Italian favorite from Emilia Romagna.  Having a lot of eggplants in my garden this year, I took it upon myself to recreate a classic comfort dish that I felt would really showcase the Parmigiano Reggiano in two key ways: melted and crunchy. 

This panino calls for a cheese with a full body that can stand up and compliment the perfume of the rosemary bread. The mozzarella cheese is used more for the "goo-factor,"  that glues everything together, as the salty, Parmigiano Reggiano comes through to take center stage, elevating it to pedestal-worthy. The Parmigiano Reggiano also takes a supporting role in the breading, as it crisps up while grilling, adding a salty, nutty crunch to the exterior of the bread, as a little nod to the  breaded eggplant from the original, classic recipe.

  This panino is all the flavors of the classic comfort dish, Eggplant Parmigiano, but deconstructed and remade in to a decadent griller that you may find seriously addictive!  

Buon Appetito!

Quality ingredients make all the difference!


8 thin slices of rosemary peasant bread
8 slices of eggplant (sliced lengthwise very thinly)
8 thin slices of red tomato
8 slices of mozzarella cheese
2 1/2 cups of Parmigiano Reggiano Cheese
1 cup of panko breadcrumbs
1 large egg (beaten)
1/4 cup of Italian parsley (chopped finely)
2 tablespoons of olive oil for grilling
1 cup of your favorite marinara sauce for dipping


1.) Using the finest-grate selection on a box grater, grate about 3 cups of the  Parmigiano Reggiano Cheese. Set aside

2.) Very thinly slice (lengthwise) one eggplant using a sharp knife or mandoline. Also, very thinly slice the tomato.

3.) Heat a cast iron skillet on high heat with 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Grill each eggplant slice (about 2 minutes on each side; it will grill very quickly) Set aside.

4.) To build the sandwich, place a slice of mozzarella cheese on the bottom slice, then top with 2 slices of grilled eggplant. Sprinkle about 1/3 cup of Parmigiano Reggiano Cheese over  the top of the eggplant. Follow with two tomato slices,  another slice of mozzarella cheese, then top with the other slice of bread.  Continue these steps with the remaining three sandwiches.

5.) Once all the sandwiches are built, combine the bread crumbs and parsley with the remaining grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese in a shallow bowl. Using both hands, carefully dip both sides of each sandwich in the egg wash. Then coat both sides of each sandwich in the breadcrumb/grated cheese mixture.

6.) Using the same cast iron skillet, (no need to oil again) grill each sandwich on medium heat, until both cheeses are melted, and the outside of the sandwich has a crispy crust on it from the grated Parmigiano Reggiano.

7.) Serve with marinara sauce for dipping.

"A sandwich that's pedestal worthy!"

Italian street lined with osterie, pizzerie, gelaterie, and pastaccierie, July 2012

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