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September 2009 Issue

Grilled Eggplant Parmigiana Heros

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Grilled Eggplant Parmigiana HerosRomulo Yanes
  • Active Time

    1 hr

  • Total Time

    1 3/4 hr

This bravura sandwich stimulates all the senses. Grilling eggplant instead of frying it adds lightness and smoky complexity.


Makes 4 sandwiches

For tomato sauce:
1 1/2 pounds tomatoes, chopped
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
5 garlic cloves, chopped
1/4 teaspoon hot red pepper flakes
1/3 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
For eggplant heros:
4 (6-inch) hero or hoagie rolls, split
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, divided
2 (1-pound) eggplants
1/2 pound thinly sliced provolone or fresh mozzarella, divided
1 cup basil leaves, chopped

Make tomato sauce:

Step 1

Purée tomatoes in a blender until very smooth. Heat oil in a 3-to 4-quart heavy saucepan over medium-high heat until it shimmers. Sauté onion and garlic with red pepper flakes until golden, about 4 minutes. Add tomato purée, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper and simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until thickened, 30 to 35 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in cheese.

Make sandwiches:

Step 2

Prepare grill for direct-heat cooking over medium-hot charcoal (medium-high heat for gas); see Grilling Procedure .

Step 3

Brush cut side of rolls with 1 tablespoon oil total.

Step 4

Cut eggplants crosswise into 1/2-inch-thick slices. Brush both sides of slices with remaining 3 tablespoons oil and season with 1/2 teaspoon salt.

Step 5

Oil grill rack, then grill eggplant (covered only if using a gas grill), loosening with a metal spatula and turning occasionally to avoid overbrowning, until very tender, 6 to 8 minutes. Top eggplant (still on grill) evenly with half of sliced cheese, then grill, covered, until cheese begins to melt, about 30 seconds. Transfer eggplant with spatula to a large tray.

Step 6

Grill rolls (cut side only) until grill marks appear, about 1 minute, and transfer to tray.

Step 7

Transfer grilled rolls to 4 plates and spoon about 3 tablespoons tomato sauce onto each bottom piece. Top with eggplant, making 2 layers. Add remaining sauce, then top with basil and remaining cheese and close sandwiches.

How would you rate Grilled Eggplant Parmigiana Heros?

  • This recipe is pretty good. I grilled the eggplant on a George Foreman and added more spice to the tomato sauce. Other than these two changes, I followed the recipe as written. It does take some time to make and assemble, but the pay off is worth it.

    • jlwind00

    • Syracuse, NY

    • 1/2/2012

  • Just wanted to point out to those calling this a vegetarian recipe - most parmesan is not vegetarian, though there are vegetarian derivations. If you're being picky.

    • cottallen

    • London, UK

    • 12/27/2011

  • Made it without the rolls - the eggplant tastes just as good on top of rice or couscous.

    • chowdahound

    • Los Angeles, CA

    • 8/26/2011

  • This was very good but I think mostly because we baked our own sandwich bus for it. Otherwise it was just ok.

    • lola0706

    • Montreal

    • 3/14/2011

  • This recipe was delicious! I'm always looking for new vegetarian dishes to try, and yes... I'd never had eggplant parmesan before :(. CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture. Look it up, they're wonderful.

    • karmicflower

    • Miami, FL

    • 12/6/2010

  • I'm always looking for good vegetarian dishes-- this one pleases even my fussiest Veggie friend. The second time I made it, I used toasted sour dough bread, skipped the marinara and added a layer of spicy hummus instead, and some grilled red bellpepper. It makes a lighter sandwich, and allows the eggplant, cheese and basil flavors to really come through. Either way, it's delicious.

    • NoodleKaboodle

    • 9/25/2010

  • Oh so wonderful. Yes, do use fresh mozzarella. And Parmigiano-Reggiano. A great way to say good-bye to summer.

    • pegfoley

    • 9/22/2010

  • Nice basic recipe. If you have the time, grill the eggplants and then leave them in the sauce for several hours so they're nice and moist and tasty. Sorry didn't get the CSA reference; doesn't that stand for Confederate States of America?

    • jtarrant

    • Silver Spring, MD

    • 9/22/2010

  • Fast, healthy (sort of), and delicious. I used Trader Joe's marinara with added cheese and peppers, instead of doing the whole sauce by hand. Saved time, still tasted great. Used provolone instead of mozzarella. I think mozzarella wouldn't be as good. And I grilled some red peppers too. Nice addition. It's good as a leftover for lunch, too.

    • mleerskov

    • Sonoma, Ca.

    • 8/18/2010

  • this isnt a review. im hoping to make this one ahead of time. at least a day? any suggestions?

    • BambilovesFlower

    • 4/18/2010

  • When I cook for friends, it's usually something elaborate and I spend days in preparation. I decided to make soemthing simnple along with my handcut parmesan fries. The Dining Room fell silent for twenty minutes and the plates were so clean I put them back in the cupboard:) Excellent dish!!

    • Anonymous

    • Atlanta

    • 4/17/2010

  • i didn't care for the sauce so i substituted with trader joe's marinara. I thought the eggplant itself was delicious!

    • Anonymous

    • nj

    • 1/26/2010

  • Have not tried this recipe- however it is identical to a dish that I make frequently, only not as a sandwich. All the flavor without the extra carbs from the bread. I call it Grilled Eggplant Parmigian... Good to see all the people with the CSA subscriptions!

    • ratsorizo

    • OlyWa

    • 10/28/2009

  • This was fantastic and easy. We had all the produce from the CSA we belong to and from our garden, so everything was crazy fresh. I will most definitely be making this again!

    • lranney

    • 9/22/2009

  • 100% Good to go!! I'm sure you could vary from original recipe as some did and this would still be exceptional BUT prepared according to recipe....OMG!

    • tinroofs

    • The South

    • 9/17/2009

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