Mexican Fried Eggplant Sandwich

Mexican Fried Eggplant Sandwich

(Vegan Tortas and Pambazos)

From our
friends at Serious Eats

 

Hearty vegan
Mexican-style sandwiches made with fried eggplant, refried beans, roasted
chilies, and pickled red onions, served in a toasted roll doused in enchilada
sauce.

·        
YIELD: Serves 4

·        
ACTIVE TIME: 45 minutes

·        
TOTAL TIME: 1 hour

 

Ingredients:

·        
2 medium
poblano peppers

·        
1 medium
egplant, cut into 1/2-inch planks

·        
Kosher
salt

·        
1/2 cup
flour

·        
1 quart
vegetable oil

·        
1 cup
panko-style breadcrumbs

·        
1
cup homemade or store-bought vegetarian refried beans

·        
2
tablespoons finely chopped chipotle pepper in adobo sauce

·        
2
teaspoons dark molasses

·        
4 hearty
sandwich or hero rolls

·        
3/4
cup pickled red onions

·        
2 cups
shredded iceberg lettuce

·        
Handful
fresh cilantro leaves

·        
1
avocado, sliced

·        
If
Making Pambazos:

·        
1 1/2
cups store-bought or homemade red enchilada sauce

 

Directions:

1.      
Place
poblano peppers directly over flame of a gas burner and cook, turning
occasionally, until blackened on all sides, about 10 minutes. Alternatively,
broil as close as you can get to broiler element, turning occasionally, until
blackened on all sides, about 10 minutes. Transfer to a bowl, cover tightly in
plastic wrap, and set aside.

2.     
Meanwhile,
season eggplant slices evenly with salt and pepper. Place on a paper
towel-lined plate and cover with another paper towel. Combine flour and 1/2 cup
water in a medium bowl. Season with salt. Place panko in a medium bowl. Heat
oil in a large wok, cast iron fryer, or Dutch oven to 375°F. Adjust flame to
maintain temperature.

3.     
Press
down on eggplant slices to remove excess moisture, then transfer to bowl with
flour/water mixture 3 to 4 pieces at a time. Lift eggplant, allow excess batter
to drain, then transfer to breadcrumbs and toss to coat, pressing on crumbs to
adhere firmly. Transfer to a large plate. Repeat until all eggplant is coated
in crumbs.

4.     
Working
in batches (do not add more than a single layer of eggplant), carefully add
eggplant slices to oil and cook, turning occasionally, until golden brown and
crisp on all sides, about 4 minutes. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate,
season immediately with salt, and repeat until all eggplant is cooked.

5.     
Carefully
peel charred skin from poblano peppers, remove stems and seeds, and cut into
1/4- to 1/2-inch strips.

6.     
In a
small bowl, combine refried beans, chipotle peppers, and molasses. Stir with a
fork until homogenous.

7.     
To
assemble sandwiches, split rolls in half. Spread bean mixture evenly over bottom
halves. Top with pepper strips, fried eggplant, pickled red onions, shredded
lettuce, and cilantro. Spread sliced avocados evenly on cut-side of top half of
rolls. Close sandwiches, pressing down gently to compress.

8.    
For
tortas, serve as-is, or toast in a panini press or in a hot oven for a few
minutes if desired.

9.     
For
pambazos, place enchilada sauce in a large bowl. Transfer sandwiches to bowl
one at a time and spoon sauce over them until completely coated. Transfer to a
panini press and grill until toasted and sauce is lightly charred, about 4
minutes. Serve immediately.

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