Grilled Eggplant and Mozzarella Hero with Spicy Tomato Sauce and Basil Pesto
This scrumptious mess of a sandwich is every bit as satisfying as a classic Italian sub--and if you prepare the tomato sauce and pesto in advance (or use purchased pesto), the sandwiches come together super fast. The recipe comes from Cara Mangini, of Little Eater in Columbus, Ohio.
Fill a small bowl halfway with ice water; set aside. Plunge 3 cups loosely packed fresh basil leaves into a saucepan of simmering water. Using tongs, immediately transfer basil to ice bath, then to towels; pat dry. (This step helps basil retain its bright color.) In a food processor, combine the basil, 1/3 cup toasted walnuts or pine nuts, 1 clove garlic, 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt and 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper. Pulse until finely chopped, scraping sides as needed. With motor running, slowly add 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil. Process until smooth. Add 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese. Process briefly. (You can add up to 1/4 cup more olive oil to reach desired consistency.) Chill, covered, up to 3 days, or freeze up to 6 months.
Mizuna is a mild, slightly peppery Asian green with serrated edges. Cara Mangini likes its frilly look and spicy flavor, but arugula is a great substitute.