Prep Time10 minutes
Cooking Time20 minutes
1 medium globe eggplant, trimmed, peeled, cut into 1-inch chunks
2-3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
A few turns freshly ground black pepper
Big pinch red pepper flakes
2 tablespoons butter or ghee, at room temperature
4 thick slices bread from a large country boule (such as Acme Levain)
4-6 tablespoons sun dried tomato pesto
4 ounces dry, whole-milk mozzarella, thinly sliced
1 ounce freshly grated parmesan
1/2 cup Pearls Sliced Kalamata Olives, drained well
To cook the eggplant, prepare the eggplant and set aside. Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a wide skillet over medium heat. When it shimmers, add the eggplant in a single layer and sprinkle with the salt, pepper, and chile flakes. Cook, tossing occasionally, until the eggplant is deep golden and tender, 10-15 minutes, adding more oil to the pan if it looks dry. Remove from the heat.
To prepare the sandwiches, spread one side of the bread slices with a thin layer of butter or ghee, and the other side with a layer of pesto. On the pesto side of one piece of bread, place one-fourth of the mozzarella, a good grating of parmesan, half of the olives, half of the eggplant, one-fourth of the mozzarella, and another slice of bread, pesto side down. Repeat to make a second sandwich.
Place a wide skillet or griddle over medium heat and add the sandwiches, cooking on each side until deeply golden and the cheese is molten, 5-10 minutes. Cut in half and serve immediately.