As far as panini recipes go, this eggplant sandwich is one of the simplest. Substitute (or even add!) green or yellow zucchini into this grilled eggplant recipe and you can pretty much please any palate.
If you happen to be sensitive to nightshades, you'll want to try a different veggie since eggplants are nightshades, along with tomatoes, potatos and peppers.
You can make this for the rest of the family, and just use a different squash for yours.
If you happen to be serving guests who are vegetarian or vegan, this might be a great option for your menu, too. Minus the cheese, of course.
This recipe serves 2.
Light or turn on your grill and allow to heat up before proceeding with the recipe. If you are making this panino indoors, prepare a baking sheet by covering it with aluminum and preheat your oven to 450 degrees.
Combine half the olive oil and all the seasonings in a small bowl and mix together thoroughly.
When the grill is hot, wash and slice your eggplant (either in rounds or length-wise). Baste one side of the eggplant and place seasoned-side down on the grill. If you're worried about the eggplant sticking to the grill, you can use a little bit of additional olive oil to baste the rack (or sheet pan) first. Then, using a pastry brush, paint the other side of the slices with the seasoning mixture.
Cook your slices for approximately 15-20 minutes, turning them over once about halfway through to get an even grill on both sides. Remove your veggie slices from the heat.
Prepare your bread by sprinkling it with the olive oil. If using cheese, lay your slices on the base of your sandwich. If you want the panino to be grilled, place both halves of the bread on the grill crust-side down. (If cooking inside this is best done in a non-stick skillet or griddle)
Top the cheese side with the grilled eggplant. After a minute or two, turn the top half of your roll onto the rest of the sandwich. Let grill for an additional 2-3 minutes. Serve warm.