Eggplant, Fontina and Tomato Panini
- SERVINGS: 4
- Extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 medium eggplant (1 pound), cut lengthwise into eight 1/2-inch-thick slices
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
- 6 ounces fontina cheese, cut into 8 slices
- 4 medium tomatoes, sliced 1/4 inch thick
- 1/2 cup packed basil leaves
- Four 4-by-6-inch pieces of rosemary focaccia or 6-inch-long baguette rolls, halved lengthwise
- Coat the bottom of a large skillet with olive oil and heat until shimmering. Season the eggplant slices with salt and pepper and cook over moderately high heat until golden, 6 to 7 minutes per side. Top each eggplant slice with a slice of cheese and cook until the cheese begins to melt, 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer to paper towels to drain. Wipe out the skillet and add more oil. Repeat with the remaining eggplant and cheese.
- Arrange the tomatoes and basil on the bottom halves of the focaccia and season with salt and pepper. Top with the eggplant slices and close the panini.
- Set a large cast-iron skillet or griddle over moderately high heat. Arrange the panini in the skillet and weight them down with a smaller pan. Cook the panini until the outside is crisp and the filling is heated through, 3 minutes per side. Cut the panini in half and serve at once.
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Congratulations to Mei Lin, winner of Top Chef Season 12.