We worked out a series of dinners. This one leads into a future pizza, since I grilled the veggies for the pizza (a red pepper; the rest of the eggplant) along with those for dinner (most of the eggplant). This dish, from Weber’s Real Grilling, requires 8 eggplant slices (2 per sandwich, 2 sandwiches per person for main dish), brushed with olive oil, the smaller 4 grilled on both sides, the larger grilled, initially, on one side. With ungrilled side down, the half-grilled, larger slices become the base of the sandwich; 1 Tbsp of red pepper puree is spread on each slice (note to self: even on these really large slices, 1 red pepper cube was enough for 2 sandwiches), topped with a folded slice of prosciutto (using up prosciutto was a goal here), sliced fresh mozzarella (don’t use the expensive stuff – makes no discernible difference), and a large, or many small, basil leaves. Even if using a large leaf, I have found it is preferable to have small pieces so you don’t pull the entire thing out in the first bite. Grill the composed sandwich 2-3 minutes on medium (covered) and they’re done.
I seem consistently to choose wild or mixed rices for an accompaniment to these, and it works well. This particular rice is Great Valley Long Grain & Wild Rice from Woodland, CA (hm… rice doesn’t really belong in California…) Boil 2 cups water with 1/2 tsp salt (my addition – I tried 1/4 tsp this time but not enough) add 1 cup rice, return to a boil and reduce heat to simmer for 25 minutes, covered (I used med-low or low for this… moved back and forth), turn off heat and let sit 5 minutes. I shaved off thin slices of butter and put on top of the rice for a luxury flavor.
D brought up an Acorn Sangiovese (2011, Alegria Vineyards Russian River Valley), which was an excellent choice. He was late getting it and it wanted airing, so he put it into the rolly decanter, which aired it out well.