Last Chance Sandwich: Eggplant and Arugula
To be a locavore is to live on the cutting edge. The end of the season for harvesting any given vegetable differs depending on where you live, and Amy Cotler, author of the forthcoming The Locavore Way: Discover and Enjoy the Pleasures of Locally Grown Food, has come up with sandwich that makes good use of the last arugula and eggplants of the year. Amy bought her eggplant—firm to the touch with shiny purple skin—at McEnroe’s, the big organic farm stand in Millerton. The arugula came from her own back garden, and, she says, it was “leggy and spicy, but full of perk.” The combination makes for a vegetarian sandwich with gusto.
Eggplant & Arugula Sandwiches
Makes 4 to 6 servings
1/8-teaspoon anise seed
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 minced garlic clove
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1/2 cup mayonnaise (homemade or store-bought)
About 1-1/2 pounds eggplant, 1 large or 2 small eggplants, cut into
1/2 inch slices
2 - 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 small baguettes or 4 - 6 crusty rolls
4 scallions, chopped
1 bunch arugula, stems removed
1. Add the anise seed, soy, garlic, sugar and vinegar to a skillet. Cook over medium heat, stirring continuously, until the liquid is reduced to half, 1 to 2 minutes. Remove from the heat. Let cool a few minutes and stir into the mayonnaise until well combined. Set aside.
2. Sprinkle the eggplant slices evenly with about 1 teaspoon of salt. Let sit for 30 minutes to 3 hours. Dry well with a kitchen towel.
3. Brush a non-stick skillet (or a grill) with a thin layer of the oil. (If you are willing to use more oil, you can use a cast iron skillet.) Heat to medium high, until the oil is hot but not smoking. Cook eggplant, searing on both sides, until soft all the way through, about 4 minutes each side, adding extra oil and cooking it in batches if necessary. Set aside.
4. Split baguettes or rolls horizontally. Remove a little bread from the center of the top half in each. Equally spread the mayonnaise on one side of each baguette or roll. (It’s strong so a little goes a long way.) Divide eggplant, then the scallions and arugula, evenly over half the bread. Top with the other half and press down. Slice as desired into halves or quarters.