Thursday, April 03, 2008

Recipe Time #12: Caprese Style Sandwiches

"Oh, I didn't know they make 9th place ribbons . . ."

They don't.

Nine finalists prepared their healthy recipes for a contest with one mountain bike to win -- let's just say I walked back. But hey, I could've been first runner-up.

Or appeal the Fockers to make me a ribbon.

Nonetheless, I packed this sandwich for a snowboarding/ski trip a while back and it was well received, so here's the recipe.

Ingredients (3-4 servings)
1 baguette (I used a whole wheat loaf instead for the above photo; believe me, it's MUCH easier with the baguette)
1/2 a medium onion (color doesn't matter much), coarsely chopped
2 roma tomatoes, sliced (should make about 8-10 slices)
8 oz. mozzarella cheese, sliced (again, around 8-10 slices)
1 cup baby spinach leaves
2 cloves garlic
3 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
1 Tbsp. honey
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 Tbsp. butter

1. Cut baguette halfway across (or have the bakery do it for you when you buy it), hollow out each half with your hand. Dispose or save the breadcrumbs (which is great for thickening soups/sauces, making croutons, or a crispy topping on baked dishes)

2. Combine the honey and the balsamic vinegar, set aside

3. Make garlic-infused olive oil
a. Peel and finely chop the two cloves of garlic
b. Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium-low heat for about 15-20 seconds
c. Throw garlic in and heat for another 1-2 minutes (done when you smell that wonderful roasted garlic aroma)
d. Set aside

4. Make balsamic caramelized onions
a. Heat butter in skillet over medium heat until melted
b. Add the onions in and continue heating and stirring until they "sweated": translucent and lacking most of that raw flavor when tasted.
c. Add half of the balsamic-honey mixture, stirring and tossing thoroughly until the onions are coated. Continue heating for another 2-3 minutes and set aside.

5. Make and stack the sandwich
a. Drizzle one half of the baguette with the garlic-infused oil, the other half with the remainder of the balsamic-honey mix
b. Start piling on the cheese, tomato, spinach & onions however you like. My only advice is to keep the tomatoes & onions away from each other, since they are both slippery and can make for a messy experience upon eating.
c. Close the two halves together and wrap tightly in plastic wrap (you may want to cut the sandwich into individual portions beforehand to make it more manageable)

6. Store in fridge for two hours (or overnight) for the flavors to meld and marinade, then serve it up and enjoy!

Customization ideas:
1. You sub out half or all the spinach for basil to make it even more caprese-y, I just didn't happen to find any good basil at the market when I shopping so opted to use the Popeye greens instead.
2. I went meatless, but slices of pancetta and/or proscuitto will go wonderfully in here.
3. As you can tell from my picture, you can do this with a loaf too -- but it's much easier with the baguette (which they ran out of at several markets and bakeries when I made it for the contest).


Angela said...

sounds yummy. i shall try.


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