I want to thank everyone who posted a response to me about what to do with the garlic basil bread I’d made. For whatever reason, I came to a big stumbling block to figure out what to do with it all. However with a detailed response from Cathy, a mention of eggplant from Yvo, and a recent post from Vegan Yum Yum, I decided what I wanted to do with the bread. Here’s what happened.
To start the process, I made a pot of spaghetti sauce using the recipe I’ve come to rely on. This time I made it meatless. Still a completely tasty sauce either way. It’s my go-to spaghetti sauce. I made a lot so I could freeze some! I put the pot of spaghetti sauce to cook early this morning while I did other tasks and duties. If you aren’t inclined to make your own, I would think any ol’ jar of tomato sauce you like would do.
First, came the eggplant. Hello beautiful. Are you ready to be cooked today? I hope so.
Ah, look at that. Sliced and ready for the next step. The eggplant used here was sliced into 1/4 to 1/2 inch slices.
The eggplant slices were then placed on a wire cooling rack with paper towels underneath. Each slice was sprinkled with sea salt and left to de-water itself while I roasted some red peppers. This probably took about 15 minutes. I didn’t leave it on too long, not wanting an overly salty taste.
Two red bell peppers were cleaned and cut along the pepper’s natural ridge. These were placed into the toaster oven set on 450 degrees until they looked like this:
The skins on the peppers should turn black, and the peppers’ flesh should be broken down and wonderful.
Just peel off the outer layer of skin to reveal the flesh of the pepper.
Here are the naked red peppers. Beautiful aren’t they? Now it is time to turn our attention back to the eggplant slices. First, wash all the eggplant slices really well with water, washing away the salt. Place on paper towels to dry a bit.
Place a grill pan, or skillet, on medium high heat. Once the pan is well heated, use a paper towel to wipe olive oil on the surface of the pan (a grilling technique). Don’t be worried if the oil smokes a little.
Lay the eggplant slices down and grill on each side until you get nice grill marks. This should leave the eggplant nicely cooked but not mushy.
Cut some slices of bread. You’ll want to use a hearty, rustic type bread for this recipe. You need something that can stand up to the spaghetti sauce and not get soggy.
Brush a bit of olive oil onto one side of the bread. Flip over the bread. This will be the bottom that goes against the baking pan.
Spoon the tomato sauce onto the bread.
Place half a slice of grilled eggplant atop the tomato sauce.
Followed by a slice of roasted bell pepper.
Finally, top it all with slices of mozzarella cheese. I placed the slices this way so that they would melt down and nearly enclose all the layers.
Place all the slices onto the baking sheet with the oiled side down. I baked mine in a 350 degree toaster oven until the cheese melted. Once fairly melted, I switched the oven to broil to toast the top of the cheese a bit.
Once baked, it’s time to consume the melty, cheesy, creamy goodness.
I made some cannelinni beans to pair with this dish. The beans I made used Cathy’s suggetions on seasoning. I cooked about a cup of dried cannelinni beans and added salt, ground black pepper, thyme (since I’m not a fan of rosemary), and a clove of grated garlic.
This was way tasty. I’ll probably toast the bread beforehand next time to give extra support and texture/taste to this. I think this would make a good appetizer as well as a meal.
Be the bento everyone!