This is one of those gigantic pressed “sexy” sandwiches as they are called in the blog world. This one hosts freshly made pesto, roasted red peppers and eggplant from my Foxtail Farm CSA as well as fresh mozzarella and a little lemon mayo.
The idea is to take a large loaf of fresh bread like chiabatta or stirato and remove the innards. Then you can stuff it with most anything you like on a sandwich, wrap it in plastic and press it in the fridge by placing it under a cutting board weighted down with cast iron pans. This beauty travels well, and tonight will be enjoyed at the music and movies at Lake Harriet Bandshell.
If you’ve got the gumption, wrap the beast in foil and warm it in the oven – I think it will be even better like that!
Peppers and Eggplant – Roasted Sandwich
- 1 loaf stirato or chiabatta sliced in half and soft bread removed
- 1 cup basil pesto
- mayo (optional)
- 6-7 red peppers, roasted
- 2 medium eggplant, salted and sweated then roasted
- 16 oz. fresh mozzarella, thinly sliced
- 1 large bunch basil
- 1 large clove garlic
- 1/4 cup walnuts
- olive oil
- salt and pepper
In a food processor, blend basil, walnuts, garlic, salt and pepper. While the machine runs, drizzle olive oil through the feed hole just until the pesto forms a paste. You may need to scrape down the sides once or twice. This pesto should be a little dry so your sandwich doesn’t get mushy.
1) Slice the eggplant into 1/2 slices. Sprinkle with salt and place in a colander for thirty minutes to sweat. Rinse and pat dry with a clean towel.
2) brush the eggplant with oil and place on baking sheet in single layer.
3) Place whole peppers on baking sheet.
4) Roast eggplant and peppers at 425 degrees until they are browned. The peppers should be blistered on all sides so you may want to turn them a few times during the roasting process.
5) After the peppers are blistered, place them in a brown paper bag and roll the top down to seal. You want to steam the skins off as the peppers cool. Once they cool, the skins will slip off fairly easily. I have run into a few peppers that give me trouble, so I just leave those skins on. Don’t sweat it – keep it simple.
6) Spread the pesto on both halves of the sandwich and then layer the eggplant, roasted peppers and mozzarella cheese. Spread the mayo on top of the pesto and close the sandwich.
7) Wrap the sandwich in plastic wrap, place it between two large cutting boards and flatten with cast iron pans. It should press in the fridge for three to four hours before serving.