A great source of recipe inspiration is restaurant menus. The better I get at cooking, the less we eat out when we could make the same thing for less money at home. Last fall I went to a local restaurant for several work-related lunches, and after trying their eggplant parmesan panini, I could never bring myself to order anything else. I am always a sucker for grilled sandwiches, and in fact this is the sandwich that is responsible for me liking eggplant in the first place.
To make these at home, I made my regular eggplant parmesan recipe one evening and prepared extra slices of the breaded and baked eggplant to use for the sandwiches a couple nights later. At least for me, breading and baking the eggplant and then making it into a sandwich just seemed like too much work for one weeknight dinner but the leftover method worked just fine. Of course you can make these in a regular skillet, but I just love the great flavor and pretty grill marks that come from my cast iron grill pan and panini press. These were definitely a hit with our family, and Andrew ate so much that I ended up having to make extra sandwiches just so I could have dinner myself!