I've been seeing roasted veggie sandwiches popping up all over the blogs I read. And who can blame these cooks-- sandwiches like those are perfect for the weather and the produce available now (at least in the northern hemisphere). Anyway, here is my little formula for a perfect roasted veggie sandwich.
I think a good sandwich of this sort has four crucial components:
1) Good, crusty bread that can stand up to a dressing without going soggy (i.e. no pre-sliced sandwich bread)
2) Vegetables, roasted with a hint of seasoning or marinade
3) Pickly, vinegary things-- olives, sundried tomatoes, capers, an acidic dressing, pickled cherry peppers, pepperoncini...
4) Some sort of spread or dressing to hold it all together-- hummous, olive tapenade, sundried tomato spread, mashed avocado, pesto, even a simple viniagrette
You can also add cheese, of course. The possibilities are endless! My next sandwich is going to be a southwestern one, with grilled onions, zucchini marinated in a lime dressing with cumin and chili powder, pickled jalapenos, and guacamole as the spread. I can't wait to try.
This sandwich is a sort of mediterranian version. I hate eggplant and zucchini, but they taste really good here, I promise! It's important to salt and mostly-peel the eggplant, otherwise it will be horrible and bitter.
Pressed Roasted Veggie Sandwich (makes 4 generous sandwiches)
4 sturdy rolls (i used Portugese rolls) or 1 boule-shaped bread
1 medium eggplant
2 medium zucchinis
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
salt and pepper
2 char-grilled red peppers, either from a jar, your grill, or your gas burner
1/2 cup sundried tomatoes
1/3 cup kalamata olives, halved
Italian-style viniagrette or pesto
(12 basil leaves, cut in a chiffonade, if using viniagrette)
Peel most of the skin off the eggplant, leaving only a few strips to help it keep it's shape. Slice the eggplant into 1/4" slices, layer them in a colander, and cover with generous amounts of salt. Let them sit for 1 hour. Meanwhile slice the zucchini into thin slices. Preheat the oven to 400. Rinse the eggplant, squeeze the excess water out, and place the slices in a bowl with the zuccini. Pour the olive oil, vinegar, and salt to taste over the vegetables, and mix. Lay the vegetables on an oiled cookie sheet in a single layer. (This amount of vegetables just fit onto my cookie sheet.) Roast until tender but not mushy, about 15 minutes. If you are going to char your own peppers, do it now. (I did!)
When everything is cool, slice the rolls/bread, and remove most of the fluffy insides-- you need lots of room for all those vegetables. (Save for breadcrumbs). Spread one or both halves of the bread with the viniagrette or pesto. Just don't put too much on or else the bread will get soggy. Layer on the peppers, eggplant, zucchini, tomatoes, and olives and basil, if using. Top with the other half of bread. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap, and put in the fridge overnight, weighted down with something heavy on top.