Celebrate National Cheese Lovers Day with Cheesy Eggplant Parmesan Melts
While pretty much every day at Plated HQ is Cheese Lovers Day, we’re happy to have an official excuse to celebrate. To help you properly commemorate the day at home, we’re providing you with one of the test kitchen’s favorite recipes—Cheesy Eggplant Parmesan Melts. This dish marries classic eggplant parm and the ubiquitous sandwich melt. The result is a ridiculously cheesy dream of a dinner that’s made even more perfect by an easy homemade tomato sauce.
Flipping the eggplant halfway through broiling prevents one side from burning before the slices are tender.
12 ounces Italian eggplant
2 sprigs oregano
2 cloves garlic
8 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese
2 ciabatta rolls
½ teaspoon dried basil
½ teaspoon dried thyme
1½ cups tomato purée
1 tablespoon grated pecorino cheese
1 teaspoon sherry vinegar
4 cups spring mix
1. Prepare Ingredients
Turn broiler to high. Rinse eggplant, halve lengthwise, then cut crosswise into ¼-inch slices. Rinse oregano and finely chop leaves, discarding stems. Smash garlic using the flat side of a knife. Slice mozzarella as thinly as possible. Wrap ciabatta in foil and place in oven until warm through, 5–10 minutes.
2. Broil Eggplant
While ciabatta warms, toss eggplant with oregano, 1½ tablespoons olive oil, ¼ teaspoon kosher salt, and pepper on a foil-lined baking sheet and toss to combine. Arrange in a single layer, transfer to top rack of oven, and broil until very tender, flipping halfway through, 10-12 minutes total (see Recipe Tip). Transfer to a plate and discard foil from baking sheet.
3. Make Tomato Sauce
While eggplant broils, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a medium pot over medium heat. When oil is shimmering, add spices and garlic and cook until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add tomato purée and cook until flavors are melded, about 5 minutes. Taste and add salt and pepper as needed. Remove pot from heat and discard garlic.
4. Assemble and Broil Melts
Line baking sheet from eggplant with fresh foil. Halve warmed ciabatta lengthwise and place cut-side up on prepared baking sheet. Add ½ of tomato sauce, then eggplant, then remaining tomato sauce. Sprinkle over pecorino and mozzarella, dividing evenly. Transfer to top rack of oven and broil until cheese is bubbling and golden, about 5 minutes.
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