Grilled Eggplant and Tomato Sandwiches

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(taken from BonAppetit, August 1992 - without permission)

3 large Japanese eggplants (about 12 ounces), each cut lengthwise into thirds
1/3 cup olive oil
2 large garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil plus 8 large fresh basil leaves
4 1/2-inch-thick diagonal slices country-style bread
1 large tomato, cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices
4 slices (about 4 ounces) Fontina cheese
Fresh basil sprigs

Prepare grill (medium-high heat).  

Sprinkle eggplant slices generously with salt.  Let stand 5 minutes. Pat dry. 

Combine oil, garlic, and chopped basil in small bowl.  Season with salt and 
pepper.  Brush eggplant slices, bread, and tomato slices with garlic oil.

Grill eggplant until very tender and slighty charred, turning frequently, 
about 7 minutes per side.

Arrange bread and tomatoes on grill during last 3 minutes of eggplant-grilling 
time and cook until bread is golden and tomatoes begin to soften, about 1
minute per side.

Transfer 2 bread slices to plate.  Top each remaining bread slice with
eggplant, !cheese, tomato slices, and whole basil leaves, dividing evenly.
Season with salt and pepper.  Cover grill until cheese just melts, about 1
minute.

Transfer sandwiches to plate.  Top with second bread slices.  Garnish with
basil sprigs and serve.


My Changes:
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The changes I made in the recipe (and the reason I'm posting under this
subject header) resulted in more of a grilled cheese sandwich with eggplant
and tomato.

First, I cooked everything in a cast-iron frying pan on the stove.  I sauteed 
the eggplant first, brushing it with basil-olive oil from time to time.  I 
brushed all four slices of bread with the same basil-olive oil.  Then I put
two bread slices in the pan, oil-side down, with slices of pepper cheese 
(it's what I had in the frig), eggplant, tomato slices, and another piece of 
bread on top.  Grill as you would any cheese sandwich.

(Note:  I also "sauteed" the tomatoes in the frying pan, but they got too
mushy for my taste.  Next time, I'll skip that step.)