Pan-Grilled Vegetable Sandwich

Sandwich

Now, I’ve got a grill. But it’s outside. And it’s not worth the extra time to get the charcoal out, get it to a good temperature and squat over it while I hope to not have anything fall the cracks or off the side. So I improvise.
A really hot pan gives you the same caramelized flavor with a lot less effort.

I had baked some Whole Wheat Bread resembling a Ciabatta Loaf in anticipation of the sandwich. While it came out a little heavier than traditional Ciabatta (being whole wheat and all), it was really good.

The sandwich itself? I’m pretty famous in my immediate family for making Veggie Sandwiches that are fresh vegetable-based with vinaigrette-soaked bread. But, “this could replace Veggie Sandwiches” came out of my wife’s mouth only a few bites into her half. I was hesitant to buy into the hype even hours later. But a day later? I’ll make it without qualm. It was out of this world. Really.

So, how did I do it? Easy. Good food always boils down to quality ingredients and the right seasonings. Every time. I was recently asked if I had any good recipes for Venison. I don’t, but my response was: Olive Oil, Garlic, Salt and Black Pepper works for almost everything.

To get things started, I wrapped up my Ciabatta-esque bread in aluminum foil and put it in a 300 degree oven while everything else got ready.

I got everything else started by caramelizing a Yellow Onion. I started with some Roasted Garlic Oil in an already-hot pan (the key to having a stainless steel pan not stick is to have the pan already hot before adding anything else). Once the oil started to smoke I added my Onions and began stirring.

Balsamic Caramelized Onions

As those got nice and hot (and coated by Garlic Oil), I finished cutting the rest of my vegetables. In this case that meant: Zucchini, Yellow Squash and Portobello Mushroom (side note: I do not like Mushrooms as a rule, but I really want to like them, so I’m going to start sneaking them in now and again).

As my Onions were getting to that nice golden brown color, I added a few teaspoons of Balsamic Vinegar to the pan. This does a couple of thing:
If your onions or anything else is sticking to the pan, this gets it unstuck.
Once it cooks down, the Balsamic will get very sweet, adding to the flavor of the onions.

I cooked the onions until they started to stick again and put them aside. I splashed the pan with a little water to deglaze it again and got it very hot again. A little more Garlic Oil and it was time to start searing my vegetables. A single layer in the pan, sprinkle a little Salt and Black Pepper and heat until desired level of caramelization. Flip and repeat. After I finished searing all my vegetables it was time to assemble.

Pan-Grilled Vegetables

Pulling the soft bread from the oven, I worked quickly to ensure everything would stay warm, if not hot. The bread smelled heavenly as I sliced into it and could have been eaten on its own – but this loaf was meant for something more. Quickly, I slathered Sabra Roasted Pine Nut Hummus on each side. This is by far the creamiest Hummus I’ve ever had and it was perfect in this application. The base complete it was time to start layering. Zucchini, Squash, Mushroom, Zucchini, Squash, Caramelized Onions and topped the whole thing with the last of the Organic Baby Romaine Lettuce.

The Final Product

I wish words could describe just how good this was – just thinking about it now makes me want to go back downstairs and make another one. Or two.

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