For the vinaigrette
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup (scant) virgin olive oil
Salt and ground pepper to taste
For the 'sandwiches'
2 medium eggplants, cut lengthwise into 1/2 -inch slices. (Discard slices that have skin on one side.)
2 red bell peppers
Vegetable, canola, or olive oil for frying
12 ounces goat cheese, at room temperature
1/2 cup basil pesto
6 tablespoons shredded arugula leaves (optional)
For the vinaigrette:
In a small bowl, whisk vinaigrette ingredients together; set aside.
For the sandwiches:
Sprinkle eggplant with salt on both sides and place them in a large colander to sweat for about 1 hour. Wipe and pat dry with paper towels.
Place peppers in preheated 450 degree F. oven for 45 minutes, turning occasionally with tongs. When scorched and blistered, place in paper bag 10 minutes to "sweat." Remove; peel and seed peppers and cut into strips.
Heat 1 inch of oil in a large frying pan. When hot, quickly fry eggplant on both sides until golden. Drain on paper towels.
Place an eggplant slice on plate. Top with layer of goat cheese, then spread with a teaspoon of pesto and a few strips of the bell pepper. Drizzle with vinaigrette and sprinkle with some of the arugula leaf shreds.
Top with another slice of eggplant. Repeat using remaining ingredients to make a layered sandwich, or serve sandwiches open-face if you wish.
Serve while eggplant is still warm.
Serves 4 to 6.
(c) Copyright 2000. The Christian Science Publishing Society