Fried eggplant sandwich



In the category of the vegetarian options for a sandwich, this one surely climbs to the top of the list. Eggplant may be an inquiring taste for many, but once fried there are not many that can resist it. It is important not to skip the salting process as it helps to draw out extra moisture and soften up that bitter taste. Toasted bread, crunchy eggplant, lemony basil butter and very flavorful marinated bell peppers, what not to love?

Looking for more delicious sandwiches? Check out these recipes:



For 4 sandwiches
Bread 4 - ciabatta
Fior di latte mozzarella cheese 8 oz (225 g)
Extra virgin olive oil to taste
Fine salt to taste
Black pepper to taste
For the eggplant
Eggplant 1
Eggs 3
Breadcrumbs 1 cup (150 g)
Fine salt to taste
Black pepper to taste
Vegetable oil to taste - for frying
For the bell peppers
Bell peppers 3
Garlic 1 clove
Basil to taste
Balsamic vinegar to taste
Extra virgin olive oil to taste
Fine salt to taste
Black pepper to taste
For the basil butter
Butter 1 stick (110 g) - softened
Basil 2 bunches
Parmigiano Reggiano PDO cheese ¼ cup (50 g)
Lemon zest 1
Lemon juice 1 tbsp
Water 2 tbsp - cold
Ice - 2 cubes

How to prepare the eggplant

Wash the eggplant and cut it in ½ inch round slices.

Place them on a baking tray lined with 2 layers of paper towels, sprinkle a decent amount of salt and lay two more layers of paper towels on top. Repeat the process with all the slices.

Place something heavy like a cutting board or a heavy bottom sauce pot on top of the last layer. This process helps to draw out excess moisture, so the eggplant has a stronger flavor and a softer, more tender texture.

To bread the eggplant, break the eggs in a large bowl, add a pinch of salt and whisk.

Prepare a baking tray or a large plate with the breadcrumbs. Season with salt and pepper.

Add the eggplant to the eggs, coat them very well and then move them into the breadcrumbs. Cover the slices and pat them to make sure they get an even layer of breadcrumbs. Turn and repeat.

Heat the frying oil at 350°F. When ready, fry the eggplant a few slices at the time so you don’t overcrowd the pan and drop the oil temperature. Fry for a few minutes on each side until golden brown.

Move on a tray with paper towels to get rid of excess oil. Season with salt when hot.

How to prepare the bell peppers

Turn on the oven at 425°F.

Wash the bell peppers and place them in a baking tray lined with parchment paper. Cook the peppers for 40 minutes or until the skin is burned. Turn them every 10-15 minutes for even cooking.

When cooked, move them out of the oven and into a bowl and cover with plastic wrap. This process will help, once cooled, to skin the peppers very easily.

Remove the skin, stem and seeds. Then slice the peppers in 1/8 of an inch slices.

Place in a bowl with one garlic clove cut in very small dice or with a garlic press. Cut a few leaves of basil julienne style, then season with salt, pepper, olive oil and a few drops of balsamic vinegar. Set aside.

How to prepare the basil butter

For the basil butter you can use a blender or a food processor. Make sure the butter is soft at room temperature.

Take the leaves off the bunches of basil and place them in the food processor. Add the grated Parmigiano Reggiano, the zest of a lemon, 1 tablespoon of lemon juice, 2 tablespoons of cold water and 2 ice cubes. The ice cubes will keep the leaves cold, so they do not turn dark.

Let the food processor run until everything is mixed and the basil leaves are finely chopped.

Add to a bowl and mix with the softened butter. Set aside.

How to prepare the bread

You can toast the bread in the oven or in a sauté pan/cast iron with some olive oil.

Slice the bread in the middle, lengthwise.

Get the pan hot, drizzle a little of olive oil and then place the bread open side down. Cook until golden brown.

How to assemble the sandwich

Now, to assemble your sandwiches, spread the basil butter on both sides.

Llay the bell peppers on the bottom part of the sandwich, then the eggplant and cover with mozzarella broken with your hands.

Drizzle some olive oil and season with salt and pepper.

Cook in an oven at 375°F for 10 minutes, then turn on the broiler for 4-5 minutes until the mozzarella gets some color. Buon appetito!

How to store

Anything fried doesn’t really store well so it is better to eat it right away, but if you are making a large batch of eggplant, it is perfectly fine to bread it ahead of time and keep it in the fridge on a wire rack. No need to cover it. This process will make it extra crispy.

Bell peppers and the basil butter can also be made ahead of time and can be stored in the fridge in an air-tight container for a few days.


If you prefer a lighter version without fried food, the eggplant can be grilled instead.

If you are not a fan of butter on bread, you can mix the blended basil with mayo.

Choose bell peppers of different colors so your sandwich will be very colorful!