Grilled Summer Vegetable Sandwich

  • Yield 4 servings

Serrano ham and a spicy Romesco sauce add punch to this grilled vegetable sandwich.

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Marshall Gordon

Ingredients

Romesco sauce:
1 dried ancho (pasilla) chile, stemmed and seeded
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 slice dense, day-old Italian-style bread, about 6 by 3 inches and
3/4 inch thick, crust removed
3 large garlic cloves, peeled
1/2 cup canned plum tomato (pulp only, no puree)
1/3 cup marcona almonds
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
Kosher salt
Sandwiches:
1 globe eggplant (about 1 1/4 pounds)
1 small zucchini (about 3/4 pound)
2 small garlic cloves
Kosher salt
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
Freshly ground black pepper
4 sandwich rolls, 5 to 6 inches long
4 ounces (4 handfuls) arugula
8 thin slices Spanish serrano ham
8 piquillo peppers, slit opened and seeded, or 2 large red bell peppers, roasted, peeled, seeded, and sliced

Instructions

  1. For the romesco sauce: In a small bowl, cover the chile with hot water and let soak for 15 minutes to soften. Drain and tear into 
3 or 4 pieces.
  2. In a small skillet, warm the olive oil over medium heat. Add the bread and fry until golden-brown and crisp on both sides, about 30 seconds per side. Transfer with tongs to a plate and let cool. Reduce the heat to medium-low, add the garlic cloves, and fry until golden all over, about 1 minute. Transfer with tongs to the plate with the bread. Let the oil cool, then transfer it to a measuring 
cup with a pour spout.
  3. In a food processor, combine the bread (breaking it into smaller pieces to fit), garlic, chile, tomato, almonds, and vinegar. Puree until smooth, scraping down the sides of the bowl once or twice. With the machine running, add the reserved olive oil in a slow, steady stream to emulsify, as if making mayonnaise. Transfer to a bowl and stir in salt to taste.
  4. Prepare a hot charcoal fire or preheat a gas grill to high. Trim the ends of the eggplant, peel it, and slice crosswise 1/4 to 1/3 inch thick. Trim the ends of the zucchini and slice lengthwise as thickly as the eggplant.
  5. In a mortar, pound the garlic to a paste with a pinch of salt, or mince garlic and salt to a paste with a knife. Combine the garlic paste, olive oil, and thyme in a small bowl. Brush the eggplant and zucchini on both sides with the olive oil mixture and season with salt and pepper. Grill on both sides until lightly charred and soft, about 2 minutes per side for both vegetables. Let cool to room temperature.
  6. Cut the sandwich rolls in half and pull out some of the soft interior crumb. Spread each side with 2 tablespoons romesco sauce. On each of the four bottom halves, make a layer of arugula, then 2 slices serrano ham, some of the grilled eggplant, piquillo peppers, and grilled zucchini. Top with the upper half of the roll. Press the sandwiches for 20 minutes between two plates or sheet pans with a couple of 2-pound weights on top. Cut in half on the diagonal and serve.

Recipe reprinted with permission from Jack and Dolores Cakebread and Brian Streeters’s The Cakebread Cellars American Harvest Cookbook (Ten Speed Press, 2011).

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