"The people who give you their food give you their heart" - Cesar Chavez

Monday, July 8, 2013

Roasted Eggplant Muffuletta

After a trip to New Orleans I tasted a muffuletta sandwich for the first time and it completely changed the order of my favorite sandwiches. It traditionally has a lot of meat so I searched for a way to get the same tasty and filling flavors without the meat. I came across a recipe that has been modified below and on a recent summer evening I made these sandwiches for an impromptu picnic on the water. 

Roasted Eggplant & Spinach Muffuletta
(Adapted from the recipe in the book Veganomicon)

  • Olive Relish:
    • 1 cup pitted kalamata olives
    • 1 cup pitted green olives
    • 1/2 cup coarsely chopped Italian parsley
    • 4 cloves garlic
    • 1/2 cup oil packed sun dried tomatoes
    • 4 teaspoons red wine vinegar
    • 1 teaspoon dried rosemary, chopped
    • 1 teaspoon dried thyme, chopped
    • 1 teaspoon dried oregano, chopped
    • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning (optional - I just had this in my cupboard and used it!)
    • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • Muffuletta
    • 1 medium size eggplant
    • Olive oil
    • 1 handful of fresh basil
    • Fresh Mozzarella, sliced
    • 2 large fresh tomatoes, sliced
    • 1 round peasant style loaf or sandwich buns (recommend sourdough or dense whole wheat)
1.  Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Lightly grease a rimmed baking sheet. (I use coconut oil for this)
2. Cut the eggplant width wise into thick slices. Rub the slices with kosher salt and allow to drain in a colander for half an hour or so.
3. While the eggplants are draining make the olive relish. Place the olives, parsley, garlic and sun dried tomatoes in a food processor, pulse it as you slowly add in the olive oil. I prefer my relish clumpy so I just pulse it to get it evenly chopped. 
4. Rinse the salted slices with cold water, drizzle them with olive oil and lay on the greased baking sheet. Roast for 20ish minutes, flipping once, until the slices are brown and tender. 
5. Cut the loaf in half and dig out some of the bread insides to make room for all the delicious ingredients! (You can use the bread insides to make bread crumbs or just as a munching snack)
6. Spread the olive relish very thickly on either side of the bread. This is crucial and you want to make sure to get a lot of the relish juices on the bread. If the relish looks dry, drizzle on a little more olive oil.
7.  Layer the bottom with roasted eggplant on the bottom layer, followed by the mozzarella, tomato slices and basil.  Place the top loaf on and press down firmly. The thicker the bread, the more you should press down. Wrap in foil or a zip lock bag and for maximum flavor sensations, refrigerate for a few hours (or over night!) with a few heavy items placed on top of the sandwiches. Enjoy :)

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