A day off with no kids doesn't happen very often. With out any plans, my husband and I found ourselves at one of our favourite breakfast spots, Lakeside. A bakery. A café. The kind of place you don't know you are going there, but you end up there somehow..."Oh, here we are."
While waiting for our breakfast and sipping our coffee, we did a little shopping and I found these gorgeous ciabatta buns and a jar of spicy marinated eggplant. This is not stuff I can find at any ol' supermarket.
So these ciabattas are just double-sized buns... large enough to serve two when stuffed with goodness. To make this sandwich you want a good sturdy bread with a nice crust. Ciabatta is perfect, the crust is chewy and thick. You need that kind of crust so that the filling doesn't make the bread soggy while the sandwich sits overnight. This sandwich will sit overnight. And while there is nothing in the filling that is particularly gooey, the zucchini and spinach will wilt a bit. You want them too. You want the veg to squish down and get just a bit limp. The bread you choose must have a crust thick enough to stand up to a little moisture.
I urge you to try raw zucchini in sandwiches like this. Since it is almost tasteless on its own the zucchini takes on the flavours of the other layers and slightly loses that raw zucchini-ness. This is one of my favourite ways to eat zucchini.
Fillings for this sandwich are open-ended - use what you have. Don't worry if you can't find marinated eggplant. Olives, sun-dried tomatoes, marinated tofu are all good too. The following recipe fills one of these large double ciabattas. Use 2-3 regular sized ciabatta buns otherwise. Just be careful not to choose anything to is too thick and dough. You want flat ciabatta. Thick bread will make for a heavy and doughy sandwich.
You need to give the sandwich some sitting time, so make this the night before you plan to serve it.
Mediterranean Pressed Sandwich
Makes 2 hearty servings
- 1 large ciabatta loaf, or 2-3 small single serving size ciabatta buns
- 1/4 cup pesto, your choice (I used sun-dried tomato pesto)
- 1 medium-sized zucchini, sliced in 1/4 inch think slices
- salt and pepper
- 1 roasted red pepper, sliced
- marinated eggplant, spicy
- fresh basil leaves, about 3-4, ripped into pieces
- 2 cups fresh packed spinach
- 2 slices provolone cheese
- Slice ciabatta loaf in half lengthwise, it's okay if you cut all the way through to the other side
- Spread pesto on both sides of the bread
- Lay zucchini slices in a single layer on top of the pesto, sprinkle with salt and pepper
- Layer: roasted red pepper, eggplant, basil, spinach, then finish with cheese slices
- Close sandwich and tightly wrap finished sandwich in plastic wrap. Very tightly. Several layers are helpful.
- Store the sandwich in the refrigerator overnight. If possible, add a weight to the sandwich to squish it down a bit. A plate with a can of beans or something works well.
- Slice and serve