The sandwich is such a conflicting food item. The span of ideas within this umbrella of essentially any filling squished between bread has deterred me from eating them for a long time.
Homemade Tapenade, Roasted Vegetables, Artisanal Juniper Berry Elk Salami, Local Sheep Cheese on Baguette
On one end of the spectrum, the sandwich is hailed for its portability, convenience, and affordability. All throughout elementary school, my mom made me peanut butter and sugar sandwiches between two slices of 60% wheat bread for lunch every – single – day. From those years, I equated sandwiches to something just meant to fill me up.
On the other end of the spectrum, the sandwich has since been glorified as a chic dine- out item. (Please don’t get me started on Kobe beef and foie gras burgers or gourmet polenta). It’s true, there’s a definite art in constructing a prime sandwich but why must there be such a divide between the apathetic home sandwich and the gourmet restaurant variety?
When was the last time you slowed down and paid as much attention and care to building a sandwich at home as you did for more glamorous meals? Admittedly, I don’t remember the last time I made a sandwich besides a grilled peanut butter and cheddar to soak up the sins of a hard night.
Today, I decided to give the sandwich as much respect as I do to my other creations and came up with this sexy baby:
After some thought and planning, I arrived at a list of attributes to consider when building a sandwich:
- Quality of the bread
- Ease of eating e.g. thickness, how well the layers hold together
- Complimentary and contrasting flavours
- Textural interest
- Convenience i.e. should be made with readily available items
- A certain je ne sais quoi to keep them guessing
That is my sandwich philosophy. What’s yours?
- 1 Asian Eggplant
- 1 Zucchini
- 2 large (or 4 small) Sweet Bell Peppers
- 1 cup Manchego Cheese, grated
- Salami (optional)
- 1 Baguette
- 1/2 cup olives, pitted
- 2 cloves of garlic
- 3 tbs capers
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1 squeeze of lemon juice
Chop and combine.
Preheat oven to 450°F.
Roast the bell peppers and slice into strips. Detailed instructions are found here.
Slice the zuchinni and eggplant thinly using a vegetable peeler or a sharp knife. Toss in olive oil, salt, and pepper. Spread them out on a foil-lined baking pan and roast in the oven for 10 minutes. Flip them half way.
Slice the baguette in half lengthwise. Brush with olive oil and toast briefly for 1 minute.
Spread the tapenade on the bottom baguette slice. Top with eggplant, salami, bell peppers, zuchnini, and cheese.
Press the sandwich down firmly with a heavy board for 1/2 hour.
When ready to serve, heat the sandwich and melt the cheese in a 350°F oven for several minutes.
Remove and rest until the cheese cools. Slice on the bias and serve.
Simply omit the salami for pure vegetarian goodness.
Enjoy. Serves 2-3.