Home > Grilled Goodness, Meats!, Sandwiches > Meatball and Eggplant Sandwich

Meatball and Eggplant Sandwich

Meatball Eggplant Sandwich

Meatball Eggplant Sandwich

I love a good meatball sandwich, but the main problem is that a round piece of anything doesn’t particularly work well as a sandwich.  It’s clumsy to eat.  Sometimes the meatballs roll off, creating a mess.  Other times the placement of the meatball forces me to take a half-bite…maybe even a bigger bite than I otherwise would attempt.  Perhaps I’m alone in this, but I’m confused at the success of this awkward sandwich.

So one day while watching an episode of Food Network’s “Sandwich King”, it provided me  with that “ahh ha” moment.  The show, all about sandwiches, featured something that I wish I thought of — a flat meatball sandwich.  Brilliant!

OK, so you’re thinking that a flat meatball has been around a long time — it’s called a hamburger.  Not quite. For me, a hamburger showcases the excellent beefy flavor.  The meatball on the other hand is designed to showcase all of the ingredients giving it that distinct Italian flavor profile.  Then when you top the meatball with fresh ingredients such as roasted red peppers and fresh mozzarella, you begin to see the separation.

I drew inspiration for this sandwich from Jimmy & Nino’s Italian Market in Pittsburgh famous “Strip District.”  Their sandwich, known as the Meatball-Eggplant Duo is very good, but I think my version is good as well….and much easier to eat.

Ingredients:

Here's what you need

Here’s what you need

  • 1 pound of  meatball mix (see my recipe here)
  • 1 small eggplant, sliced in to 3/4 inch rounds
  • Roasted Red Peppers
  • Fresh Mozzarella, sliced
  •  Kosher Salt
  • Fresh Ground Pepper
  • Ciabatta Bread (or other crusty bread)

Place eggplant rounds on a wire rack.  Sprinkle both sides with kosher salt to draw out excess moisture and bitterness.

Sliced Eggplant

Sliced Eggplant

Wait about 15-20 minutes then blot dry with paper towels.

Can you see the water droplets?

Can you see the water droplets?

Preheat grill to medium-high.

Take the meatball mix and form a patty about 1/2 inch thick. Grill approximately 3-4 minutes on each side. (Could also be baked or pan fried).

Brush eggplant on both sides with olive oil.  Sprinkle salt and pepper on each side.  Grill approximately 3-4 minutes on each side (Can also be roasted).

When finished, remove from grill and place in a bowl covered with plastic wrap.  This will steam the eggplant to make it a tad bit softer.  Let sit 10 minutes (more or less depending on desired texture).

Optional Step

Optional Step

Brush olive oil on bread, grill just a minute or two for crunch.

Ready to meet their fate

Ready to meet their fate

When bread is grilled, assemble the sandwich by first adding the meatball patty.  Top with eggplant,  cheese, then peppers.   Drizzle the with olive oil.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Enjoy!!

Meatball Eggplant Duo - My way!

Meatball Eggplant Duo – My way!

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  1. June 12, 2012 at 7:29 pm

    This looks delicious! … and I’m always looking for creative ways to increase my husband’s tolerance for veggies I love (like eggplant). I definitely think he’d love this combination. Although if he didn’t go for the eggplant, maybe thick slices of grilled zucchini would make a decent substitute. Thanks for sharing!

  2. June 12, 2012 at 8:22 pm

    I’m lucky that I don’t have this problem. I think he’d like it though. Especially since the meatball is still the star.

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