It’s summer and the tomatoes are ripening on the vine. That means it’s time for delicious tomato-based sandwiches. The ELT, eggplant, lettuce, and tomato sandwich, is a superb variation of the classic BLT. Plus it’s healthier and vegetarian.
- 1 (1-pound) eggplant
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 1 large egg
- 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon ground white pepper
- 1 cup grapeseed oil
- ¼ cup Asheville Bee Charmer’s Smokin’ Hot Honey (chipotle-infused honey)
- 3 tablespoons tamari
- 3 tablespoons basswood honey
- 8 slices whole wheat or multigrain bread
- 8 leaves romaine lettuce
- 4 small plum tomatoes, sliced ½ inch thick
Preheat the oven to 450°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set it aside. (Grilling Instructions Noted Below)
To make the eggplant bacon, halve the eggplant lengthwise and cut each half into ¼-inch slices. Lightly brush both sides of the eggplant slices with the olive oil. Arrange the slices in a single layer on the prepared baking sheet. Bake for 10 minutes, or until browned on top. Flip the slices and bake them on the other side for 10 minutes, or until browned. Remove the eggplant from the oven and set it aside to cool for 5 to 10 minutes on the baking sheet. Keep the oven on while you make the marinade.
To make the marinade, whisk together the tamari and basswood honey in a small bowl. Brush each side of the eggplant slices with the honey-tamari mixture and return them to the oven. Bake until crispy, about 5 minutes. Remove the eggplant from the oven and set it aside to cool.
Grilling Instructions: Grilling the eggplant is a great option as well. If grilling, simply heat up the grill and brush the eggplant slices with olive oil and the marinade. Grill for 2-3 minutes on each side until tender and slightly crispy.
To make the mayonnaise, place the egg, lemon juice, mustard, salt, and pepper in the bowl of a food processor. With the motor running, slowly add the oil and let process until the mixture has emulsified and thickened. Transfer ¼ cup of the mayonnaise to a small bowl (reserve the rest for another use). Whisk in the Smokin’ Hot Honey.
To assemble the sandwiches, lightly toast the bread. Spread 1 tablespoon of the mayonnaise on one side of each bread slice. Place two romaine leaves on top of the mayonnaise on each of four slices. Divide the tomato slices and eggplant bacon evenly among the sandwiches. Top with the remaining bread slices (mayonnaise-side down).
Store leftover eggplant in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 4 to 5 days.