balsamic-roasted eggplant and arugula sandwiches

This is the eggplant recipe that made me realize eggplant is not so fussy after all: it need not be salted and drained; it need not be breaded and fried.

A simple brush of olive oil mixed with balsamic vinegar followed by 20 minutes in a hot oven, and it’s good to go.

I wrote about this recipe nearly three years ago for Food52, but I made it again recently and was just as wowed by how simple and good it is.

The recipe comes from Ruth Reichl’s My Kitchen Year. A friend had texted me a photo of the eggplant and arugula sandwiches, and I made the sandwiches immediately for dinner that night, then again the following evening, and then again and again. When the eggplant in our CSA begin arriving, this is the recipe I turn to most often.

This sandwich is as simple as it gets: there’s no fancy aioli, herby pesto, or textured relish to add “dimension”; just salted butter. And just as well. The minimalist combination really allows the eggplant to shine.

I love what Ruth says: “Eggplant is usually the chameleon of the vegetable kingdom, so accommodating that if often disappears. Here it finally has a chance to star.”

eggplant

eggplant, brushed with oil and vinegar

balsamic-roasted eggplant on a sheet pan

an open eggplant and arugula sandwich

balsamic-roasted eggplant and arugula sandwiches

balsamic-roasted eggplant and arugula sandwiches

[tasty-recipe id=”63788″]