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Eggplant, olive, and Parmesan sandwich

October 29, 2008

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Serves 4

1/2 cup olive oil, plus more for sprinkling
2 medium eggplant, sliced 1/2-inch thick
2 large onions, thickly sliced
1 ciabatta or other crusty bread, sliced into 4 lengths (6 inches each)
1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary
16 pitted black olives, or more to taste, chopped
8 anchovy fillets, or more to taste, finely chopped
Salt, to taste, if needed
2 ounces Parmesan, shaved or grated

1. Set the oven at 400 degrees. Have on hand 2 large rimmed baking sheets. Spread 1/4 cup of oil in each, generously coating the bottom. Put pans in oven to heat oil.

2. Remove hot pans carefully from the oven. Lay eggplant rounds in a single layer. At one end of each pan, pile onions.

3. Roast the vegetables for 30 minutes, turning the eggplant halfway through roasting. It should be tender but not shapeless.

4. Slice the bread in half lengthwise and pull out some of soft portion, leaving 8 shells.

5. With a metal spatula, transfer the eggplant to a cutting board. Spread onions out to cover the baking sheet. Increase oven temperature to 475 degrees. Continue roasting the onions for 5 minutes or until they are golden; set aside. Leave the oven on.

6. Drizzle the interior of the bread shells with olive oil and add a pinch of rosemary to each. Put on oven rack to toast for 2 to 3 minutes.

7. Chop the eggplant. In a bowl combine the eggplant, olives, and anchovies. Taste for seasoning and add salt sparingly if needed.

8. Mound the eggplant mixture in the bottom of each bread shell. Top with onions, Parmesan, and other bread half. John Burgess