1 large eggplant
1 cup ricotta cheese
16 thick slices of Fontina cheese
1 loaf of Italian bread
Fresh basil leaves
Butter (for the bread)
Salt and pepper
Wash the eggplant and then stripe it. By striping I mean removing some of the skin but not all of it. I run my knife down the skin on three sides of the eggplant. Then slice the eggplant into 8 - ½ thick rounds. Put some olive oil in a hot skillet and add the eggplant. Salt and pepper each piece and sauté until soft. It should take about 5 minutes on each side. The eggplant will soak up all the olive oil, so watch that it does not burn. Remove the eggplant to a plate and set aside in your work area.
I used a brick of Fontina and cut it into 16 slices but you can buy sliced Fontina if you rather and use that. Then cut your tomatoes so that you have 8 slices. Put the cheese and tomatoes on a plate in your work area.
Slice your bread so that you have 8 pieces. I like mine a little thicker but you can slice it as thin or thick as you like.
To assemble the sandwiches, spread one side of four piece of bread with the ricotta and the other four slices with butter. Then on top of the ricotta add two slices of eggplant, two tomato slices (salt and pepper the tomatoes), two fresh basil leaves torn up, and 4 slices of the Fontina cheese. Top with the remaining four slices of bread, butter side up.
In a large skillet over medium heat, melt some butter. Put the sandwiches into the pan with the dry side down. Cover the sandwiches with a piece of tinfoil and place a have pan on top of them. I use a cast iron skillet on top to really push them down. If you don’t have a heavy pan, use any fry pan with a can of tomato sauce or something inside it for weight. Toast sandwiches for 3-4 minutes then flip them over and cover again. Cook another 3 – 4 minutes, they are done when the cheese is melty and yummy looking.