Eggplant & Mozzarella Paninis with Caramelized Stone Fruit & Arugula Salad

Eggplant & Mozzarella Paninis

with Caramelized Stone Fruit & Arugula Salad

40 MIN
2 Servings
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From the Test Kitchen

The panini is an Italian sandwich that’s traditionally toasted on a grill or in a press. In this recipe, we’re making gourmet ciabatta, eggplant and mozzarella paninis on the stove, using a heavy pot to press them down and create their distinctive, crispy texture. On the side, we’re serving a classic tomato sauce, along with an incredibly tasty treat: a salad of arugula and caramelized stone fruit. (Depending on what’s best in your area, we’ll be sending you either a plum or a pluot.) When heated, the stone fruit’s natural sugars caramelize and brown, resulting in rich, complex sweetness—the perfect pairing for the hearty, melty sandwiches.

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  • Nutrition
    PER SERVING
  • Calories
    690 Cals (est.)
fresh
ingredients
Eggplant & Mozzarella Paninis with Caramelized Stone Fruit & Arugula Salad
Title
  • 2 Ciabatta Rolls
  • 1 15-Ounce Can Crushed Tomatoes
  • ½ lb Fresh Mozzarella Cheese
  • 3 cloves Garlic
  • 3 oz Arugula
  • 1 Eggplant
  • 1 bunch Basil
  • 1 Tbsp Dijon Mustard
  • 1 Stone Fruit
  • 1 Tbsp Red Wine Vinegar
time-saving
tips & techniques
Prepare the ingredients:
1 Prepare the ingredients:

Wash and dry the fresh produce. Peel and mince the garlic. Pit the stone fruit and cut into wedges. Cut off and discard the stem end of the eggplant; slice into ½-inch-thick rounds. Thinly slice the mozzarella cheese. Halve the ciabatta rolls horizontally. Pick the basil leaves off the stems; discard the stems.

Make the sauce:
2 Make the sauce:

In a medium pot, heat 2 teaspoons of olive oil on medium until hot. Add the garlic; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, 30 seconds to 1 minute, or until fragrant. Add the crushed tomatoes; reduce the heat to low. Simmer, stirring occasionally, 14 to 16 minutes, or until thickened. Remove from heat and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Caramelize the stone fruit & make the vinaigrette:
3 Caramelize the stone fruit & make the vinaigrette:

While the sauce simmers, in a large pan (nonstick, if you have one), heat 2 teaspoons of olive oil on medium-high until hot. Add the stone fruit; season with salt and pepper. Cook, flipping occasionally, 3 to 5 minutes, or until caramelized and slightly softened. Transfer to a plate. Wipe out the pan. While the stone fruit caramelizes, in a bowl, combine the vinegar and mustard; season with salt and pepper to taste. Slowly whisk in 2 tablespoons of olive oil until well combined.

Cook the eggplant:
4 Cook the eggplant:

In the pan used to caramelize the stone fruit, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil on medium-high until hot. Add the eggplant in a single, even layer. (If necessary, work in batches.) Season with salt and pepper. Cook 3 to 5 minutes per side, or until browned and tender. Transfer to a plate. Wipe out the pan.

Assemble & toast the paninis:
5 Assemble & toast the paninis:

Place the ciabatta rolls on a clean, dry work surface. Spread a layer of the sauce onto the cut sides of each roll (you will have extra sauce). Divide the mozzarella cheese and basil between the bottoms of the rolls; season with salt and pepper. Top with the cooked eggplant and the tops of the rolls. In the pan used to cook the eggplant, heat 2 teaspoons of olive oil on medium until hot. Add the assembled paninis; place a heavy pot on top of the paninis to press them down. Cook 2 to 4 minutes per side, or until the cheese has melted and the bread is toasted. Transfer to a cutting board to cool slightly.

Make the salad & plate your dish:
6 Make the salad & plate your dish:

In a large bowl, combine the caramelized stone fruit and arugula; season with salt and pepper. Add as much of the vinaigrette as you’d like; toss to thoroughly coat and season with salt and pepper to taste. Cut the toasted paninis in half diagonally and divide between 2 plates. Serve with the salad and remaining sauce on the side. Enjoy!

Tips from Home Chefs

Prepare the ingredients:
1 Prepare the ingredients:

Wash and dry the fresh produce. Peel and mince the garlic. Pit the stone fruit and cut into wedges. Cut off and discard the stem end of the eggplant; slice into ½-inch-thick rounds. Thinly slice the mozzarella cheese. Halve the ciabatta rolls horizontally. Pick the basil leaves off the stems; discard the stems.

2 Make the sauce:

In a medium pot, heat 2 teaspoons of olive oil on medium until hot. Add the garlic; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, 30 seconds to 1 minute, or until fragrant. Add the crushed tomatoes; reduce the heat to low. Simmer, stirring occasionally, 14 to 16 minutes, or until thickened. Remove from heat and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Make the sauce:
3 Caramelize the stone fruit & make the vinaigrette:

While the sauce simmers, in a large pan (nonstick, if you have one), heat 2 teaspoons of olive oil on medium-high until hot. Add the stone fruit; season with salt and pepper. Cook, flipping occasionally, 3 to 5 minutes, or until caramelized and slightly softened. Transfer to a plate. Wipe out the pan. While the stone fruit caramelizes, in a bowl, combine the vinegar and mustard; season with salt and pepper to taste. Slowly whisk in 2 tablespoons of olive oil until well combined.

4 Cook the eggplant:

In the pan used to caramelize the stone fruit, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil on medium-high until hot. Add the eggplant in a single, even layer. (If necessary, work in batches.) Season with salt and pepper. Cook 3 to 5 minutes per side, or until browned and tender. Transfer to a plate. Wipe out the pan.

Cook the eggplant:
Assemble & toast the paninis:
5 Assemble & toast the paninis:

Place the ciabatta rolls on a clean, dry work surface. Spread a layer of the sauce onto the cut sides of each roll (you will have extra sauce). Divide the mozzarella cheese and basil between the bottoms of the rolls; season with salt and pepper. Top with the cooked eggplant and the tops of the rolls. In the pan used to cook the eggplant, heat 2 teaspoons of olive oil on medium until hot. Add the assembled paninis; place a heavy pot on top of the paninis to press them down. Cook 2 to 4 minutes per side, or until the cheese has melted and the bread is toasted. Transfer to a cutting board to cool slightly.

6 Make the salad & plate your dish:

In a large bowl, combine the caramelized stone fruit and arugula; season with salt and pepper. Add as much of the vinaigrette as you’d like; toss to thoroughly coat and season with salt and pepper to taste. Cut the toasted paninis in half diagonally and divide between 2 plates. Serve with the salad and remaining sauce on the side. Enjoy!

Make the salad & plate your dish:
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