Open-Faced Eggplant Salad Sandwich (with roasted red bell pepper, walnuts, and ricotta). Is it a meal or a snack? Casual lunch or elegant party food? Healthy or decadent? Heck. Do you eat it with a fork or pick it up and cram it in your mouth? Is it even a sandwich? I don’t know.
But I do know it’s a wonderful showcase of one of my favorite vegetables (eggplants) brought into sharp focus with creamy ricotta and earthy walnuts and served on a slab of excellent black bread. It’s the contrast of ingredients that makes this recipe so interesting to me.
Eggplant Salad Sandwich
Besides, it’s an open-faced sandwich… As a kid, nothing was as fun to me as an open-faced sandwich. It sounds ridiculous now, but an open-faced sandwich was the height of elegance to this 6‑year-old food nerd. Regular kids ate sandwiches with two pieces of bread (and that bread was white). Regular kids ate sandwiches with the crusts cut off by their ‘mommies’. But I ate open-faced sandwiches (with all sorts of dark and whole wheat bread) as I listened to my mother play Cat Stevens on the guitar and do her French homework at the same time. I was a sophisticated kid who ate eggplants on black bread, yet gleefully delighted in calling them eggpants. You have to remember this is way before SpongeBob SquarePants (why are “pants” so funny to little boys?)
Of course, many of my childhood open-faced sandwiches weren’t really eggpants at all, and they weren’t usually served on black bread. They were just plain old PB&J (with the whole wheat crusts cut off).
However, I regularly pulled these little sandwiches apart. I opened them up and served them to myself open-faced. In the most sophisticated manner, a 6‑year-old could muster. I may have looked silly (or worse to the other little boys) but my love of the open-faced genre came from my mother, Cat Stevens, and the romance of conjugated verbs.
As an adult, I still love open-faced sandwiches (on any color bread). They’re really fun to work with because of their versatility. An open-faced sandwich has so many more options than sandwiches with two pieces of bread. Drippy options like Eggplant Salad Sandwiches have a tendency toward messiness, which can very quickly get out of hand. So keep a fork and napkin handy. Open-faced sandwiches aren’t meant to be eaten between two pieces of bread with two hands– the way regular adults eat. Some things never change. Open-Faced Eggplant Salad Sandwich. GREG