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Eggplant and Bread Cheese Sandwich with Black Olive Pesto

Eggplant and Bread Cheese Sandwich with Black Olive PestoA must-try hot focaccia sandwich with black olive pesto, fried eggplant, tomato, roasted red pepper and bread cheese. Recipe by Chef Ulrich Koberstein.

Recipe Ingredients:

Pesto:
1 cup kalamata olives, pitted
3/4 cup (2 ounces) Wisconsin Parmesan Cheese, grated
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon garlic, minced

Eggplant:
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 medium Italian eggplant, cut lengthwise into 1/4-inch slices
1/2 to 1 cup olive oil

1 large loaf focaccia bread
4 tomatoes, thinly sliced
2 roasted red peppers, peeled, seeded and sliced
1 (11-ounce) package Wisconsin Carr Valley Bread Cheese or other Juustoleipa Cheese, cut in thick slices

Cooking Directions:

  1. For Pesto: In food processor, puree olives, Parmesan Cheese, olive oil and garlic until smooth; set aside.
  2. For Eggplant: Preheat oven to 400°F (205°C). Combine flour, salt and pepper in shallow plate. Coat each eggplant slice with seasoned flour. In a large skillet, heat 1/4 cup of olive oil over medium-high heat. Fry eggplant slices until golden brown on both sides, adding more oil as needed. Fry in batches if necessary. Remove eggplant from skillet; blot lightly on paper towels.
  3. Final Preparation: Cut focaccia in half horizontally; spread pesto on both cut sides. Arrange eggplant slices on focaccia. Layer tomatoes, roasted peppers and bread cheese over the eggplant.
  4. Place sandwiches on large baking sheet. Bake 20 to 30 minutes or until the cheese is melted and gooey. Cut each half into 3 sandwiches. Serve warm.

Makes 6 servings.

Recipe and photograph provided courtesy of Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board, Inc.