A few summers ago, while on vacation visiting a friend, she took me to a Greek sandwich shop at the Pike’s Place Market in Seattle. I had never cared much for eggplant before that experience, but the eggplant sandwich I adventurously (I thought) chose that day completely changed my mind. Unlike the disappointing eggplant Parmesan I’d been submitted to at potlucks as a child, this was sweet and velvety and delicious with gorgeously ripe tomatoes, tangy shards of feta and briny olive tapenade. As soon as I got back to Chattanooga, I attempted to recreate it, and eventually landed on a recipe that I was happy with.
A couple of years later, I had a friend coming for dinner and purchased the ingredients for this sandwich, only to find out that she had recently discovered that she was gluten-intolerant. Without time to go shopping for something else, I decided to give the sandwich a bit of a makeover and turned it into a salad. It was delicious that way as well, so now I offer you the recipe in its original iteration, as well as its gluten-free cousin.
I make no claims that this recipe is authentically Greek, but it is certainly inspired by Mediterranean flavors and, more importantly, is delicious.
Greek Eggplant Sandwiches
Meanwhile, slice the bread loaf down the middle lengthwise to separate the top and bottom halves of the loaf. Bake for 4-5 minutes, or until the bread begins to get a bit toasted. Remove from the oven and rub the cut sides with the garlic.
To assemble the sandwich, slather one piece of bread with tapenade. Layer on the eggplant, feta, tomatoes and onions, then top with the remaining bread. Slice into four pieces and serve with a side salad of seasonal greens.
Makes 4 servings.
Make it vegan: Simply omit the feta and be more generous with the tapenade.
Greek Eggplant Salad
To serve, layer the greens on a large platter and top with the roasted eggplant, tomatoes, onions and crumbled feta. Drizzle lightly with the dressing and serve.
Makes 4 servings.
Make it vegan: Omit the feta and add a couple of tablespoons of capers. _______________________________________________________
Black Olive Tapenade
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