100 Favorite Dishes

79. Eggplant Panini From Gran Forno

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79. Eggplant Panini From Gran Forno

A stop at Gran Forno is indulgent. Beautiful boules and baguettes align baskets. Croissants stuffed with cheese or meat are stacked among displays. Dainty tartlettes glistening with sugared fruit tempt from shelves.

I paced the shop considering options. A yachtie from Australia asked what I was considering and tried to be helpful. "You don't know whether to go with breakfast, lunch, or sweets, do you?" he asked, offering a bite of his ham and cheese croissant. I declined. He was helpful, though. I opted for lunch.

While panini is not the most luxurious offering among temptations, it's one that's stuffed with healthful ingredients: Sheets of roasted eggplant. Slices of provolone. A stack of fresh greens. And thinly sliced and seasoned ripe tomatoes.

If only every sandwich were this lovely. And good for you.


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Food Critic
Contact: Melissa McCart