Friday, March 08, 2013

The Most Heavenly Vegetarian Sandwich for Meat Lovers: A Non-recipe

Two summers ago, John ate lunch with a work fellow, and he had a memorable vegetarian sandwich. Since he saved a few bites for me (lovely man), I also had a memorable vegetarian sandwich. Now, let it be known that I love meat even though we don't eat it regularly, but this sandwich was tops. Tops! That same summer, I attempted to recreate it with vegetables from our garden, and, not to toot my own horn, I made a pretty mean sandwich. By "pretty mean," I mean "pretty darn near perfect."


To begin, here's an ingredient list:
Oh, wait.  It was TWO SUMMERS AGO.  I don't remember the exact amounts, so you're on your own here.  Do you like how I absolve myself of any liability if your sandwich doesn't turn out pretty darn near perfect?

-two red peppers, roasted, with seeds, ribs, and skin removed, then cut into strips
-one average-sized eggplant, sliced into 1/4- 1/3-inch slices (next time I'll also peel the thing)
-one enormous onion, sliced into thin rings (I used yellow, but I wish I'd grown a gourmet red)
-fresh garlic, many cloves, minced
-fresh basil, cut chiffonade
-balsamic vinegar
-a bit of sugar
-extra virgin olive oil
-free WILD MUSHROOMS! (...or any kind of mushroom, or mushrooms you have to pay for, or omit the mushrooms entirely. You decide.)
-crusty, dense bread given to you by your mother (It could be either purchased or baked bread, I suppose, but I can't guarantee the results if it's not bread given to you by your mother.)

First, roast your peppers. Google instructions if you've not done it before. I'm too slothful to show you anything but the final product.

Toss eggplant slices in a bowl with balsamic vinegar, basil, minced garlic,

Stir in the roasted red peppers.

Go into the woods and search for wild mushrooms OR grab your free jar!  (Or buy one, but, again, I can't guarantee the results.)  Dump as many drained mushrooms as you like into the bowl and stir together to coat.  Season it all with salt, pepper, and sugar, to taste, and then spread in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet.  Bake in a hot oven (400 degrees?) until eggplant is soft and the rest is hot and steaming.

While the eggplant is baking, take your sliced onion, throw it in a frying pan with a couple of teaspoons of extra virgin olive oil, and cook until onions are caramelized, adding salt and stirring as needed.

When onions are finished, toss with the eggplant mixture in a big bowl, lightly toast your crusty bread, and top with a hearty mountain of the eggplant mixture.

Top with a second slice of bread if you want, and then act like Dagwood.
Watch out.  It may be messy.

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