Summer Veggie Sandwich
Category: Main Dishes | Blog URL: http://stuff2eat.blogspot.com/2009/04/baseball-season-finally.html
This recipe was entered in The Foodista Best of Food Blogs Cookbook contest, a compilation of the world’s best food blogs which was published in Fall 2010.
Baseball Season. Finally!
Dodger Stadium is one of my favorite places on earth. As a lifelong Yankee fan, this is not an admission I make lightly. It opened in 1962 and was built in a huge ravine. No matter where you sit, you can watch the gorgeous San Gabriel Mountains beyond the outfield turn purple as the sun goes down and then watch the stars alight as the sky darkens. Dodger Stadium is also the one place in Los Angeles that really makes me feel like I live in a big city: Lots of different races, creeds and colors normally spread across the vast urban sprawl that is Los Angeles come together to share their love of the game. That diversity, to me, is the engine of a city, and the only place I find it in Los Angeles is at Dodger Stadium.
Call me a wuss, but I get an intensely adverse reaction to ballpark food. I don’t know if it’s the grease, the seasonings or just plain unsanitary food prep—though my husband, Dan, is always fine regardless of what he eats. Aside from Cracker Jacks and ice cream, there’s not much that tempts me, and since Dan and I primarily go to night games, dinner is a challenge. I keep vowing to muster the courage to try the garlic fries, which you can smell from the parking lot, but each time I think of eating them, my esophagus screams all sorts of obscenities at me.
Another cool thing about Dodger Stadium is that you are allowed to bring in your own food. So, this year for the Dodgers’ home opener, I created a sandwich that can easily be transported and consumed pretty much anywhere. And, if I need a snack later in the game, I can always ignore my esophagus and hit the kiosk that sells the garlic fries during the seventh-inning stretch.
Summer Veggie Sandwich with Tapenade and Basil Vinaigrette
This sandwich is can be adapted to accommodate your taste—it’s easy to swap out meat and cheese for some of the veggies. When I make this at home, my husband likes roast beef and provolone in place of the eggplant and tapenade. When tomatoes are out of season, like right now, I bag them completely and substitute roasted red pepper. Feel free to experiment with whatever combinations of things you find appetizing. The possibilities are limited only by your palate. Transporting this is a breeze. You can wrap it in foil and forget about it until your tummy starts growling.
Canola oil spray
1 small eggplant, sliced into ¼-inch rounds
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 medium tomato, thinly sliced (I like organic heirlooms), or a few slices of roasted red pepper
5-6 large fresh spinach leaves
½ fresh baguette, halved lengthwise
1 cup pitted kalamata olives, drained
2 tablespoons capers, drained
1 garlic clove, roughly chopped
Dash cayenne pepper
Zest from ½ lemon
2 sprigs of fresh parsley
2 sprigs of fresh thyme
2 tablespoons olive oil
¼ cup olive oil
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
6 fresh basil leaves, torn into pieces
1 teaspoon stone-ground or Dijon mustard
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1. Preheat oven to 350° F. Spray baking sheet with canola oil. Place eggplant in a single layer on the baking sheet. Spray eggplant with canola oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake 10 minutes. Turn eggplant slices over, and bake until brown and tender, 6-8 minutes more.
2. While eggplant is cooking, make the tapenade by pulsing together all ingredients in a food processor until it resembles a coarse paste. This makes about 1½ cups, so you will have leftovers after you are finished assembling the sandwich.
3. To make the vinaigrette: Put all ingredients into the blender and blend until smooth.
4. If you are adding ingredients to one half but not the other, cut the baguette halves in two and work from four pieces of bread rather than two. Remove most of the soft white bread from baguette pieces. Spread about 3 tablespoons of tapenade on the hollow of the bottom half. You want to cover the entire half. Spread about 2 tablespoons of vinaigrette on the hollow of the top half. You can use more or less of either ingredient, depending on what you like.
5. If you’re using meat or cheese, place on top of the tapenade half. Place the eggplant slices on top of the tapenade half. Layer the tomato slices on top of the eggplant. Layer the spinach leaves last. Place the top half of the baguette onto the rest of the sandwich and press down lightly. If you haven’t already sliced the sandwich into two halves, do so and serve with remaining vinaigrette or tapenade.