Grilled Eggplant, Arugula and Mozzarella Panini
- 4 eggplant slices, each 1/2 inch thick
- Extra-virgin olive oil, as needed
- Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
- 8 slices country-style bread, each 1/2 inch thick
- 2 cups loosely packed arugula leaves
- 4 to 6 oz. fresh mozzarella, thinly sliced
Brush both sides of the eggplant slices with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Arrange the eggplant on the panini maker and close the lid; be sure it makes even contact with the eggplant. Cook until dark grill marks appear, 3 to 4 minutes. Transfer the eggplant to a warmed plate.
Reduce the heat on the panini maker according to the manufacturer's instructions to 400°F.
Brush one side of each bread slice with olive oil. Lay 4 of the bread slices, oiled side down, on a clean work surface, and arrange the eggplant, arugula and mozzarella on the bread, seasoning each layer lightly with salt and pepper. Top each with one of the remaining bread slices, oiled side up. Season the outside of the sandwiches with salt and pepper.
Place 2 of the sandwiches on the preheated panini maker. Close the lid and be sure it makes even contact with the sandwiches. Cook according to the manufacturer's instructions until dark grill marks appear and the sandwiches are heated through, 3 to 4 minutes.
Transfer the sandwiches to a cutting board and cut in half. Serve immediately and repeat with the remaining sandwiches.