Grilled Eggplant and Zucchini Pressed Panino


I used to be able to get a version of this sandwich at this tiny little lunch place by work. Every time I went in there, I would ask for a panino and the man behind the counter would correct me and ask, “you mean a panini?” I would answer, “not unless you are planning to give me two for the price of one.” Panini is plural, meaning multiple sandwiches; panino is singular for one sandwich. I love it when people correct my Italian. The restaurant has long since gone out of business, but I continue to enjoy it at home. I think mine’s better :).  

Every vegetarian pressed panino seems to contain grilled eggplant and zucchini. I know, but this sandwich is different. I have had the zucchini both grilled and raw and it’s delicious both ways. The dressing, though simple, adds the right amount of creaminess and it dances thanks to the freshly cracked black pepper and strong hints of parsley. Who puts parsley in their sandwiches?? It’s fabulous. Trust me.  Then there’s the crunch from the no-nonsense green pepper, which is actually refreshing in this crowd. Combined with a warm, toasty bun that heats everything up and causes the mozzarella to ooze, it’s simply lovely. Oh how I love this sandwich!!

Serves 1

Ingredients:

 Bun, flat, whole grain  1
 Mozzarella, slices  2-3
 Eggplant, small, grilled  1
 Zucchini, grilled or raw  1
 Pepper, green (raw), thinly sliced  1/2
 Mayonnaise  1 tbsp
 Basil pesto 1 tsp
 Mustard, Dijon  1/2 tsp
 Parsely, fresh, finely chopped 1 tbsp
 Black pepper  

Directions:

  1. Thinly slice eggplant. Brush with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and black pepper.
  2. Slice zucchini diagonally approximately half an inch wide. Brush with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and black pepper.
  3. Grilled eggplant and zucchini slices over medium heat for approximately 2-3 minutes on each side.
  4. Combine the mayonnaise, basil pesto, Dijon mustard, parsley and black pepper. Set aside.
  5. Cut bun in half and spread half the mayonnaise spread over one side. Save the extra for lunch.
  6. Then add the mozzarella slices, three layers of eggplant, one layer of zucchini, green pepper slices, in this order. Top with other half of the bun.
  7.  Heat a small frying pan on medium heat. Do not add oil.
  8.  Add the panino and reduce the heat by one notch.
  9. Place something heavy (e.g.  cast iron pan) on the panino and press down for 3 minutes.
  10. Flip panino and press and cook for another 3 minutes.

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