This sandwich isn't a muffuletta by any stretch of the imagination. It was created by Cindy Pawlcyn before she visited New Orleans and tasted the famous Muffuletta sandwiches from the Central Grocery. I've had muffulettas from New Orleans and they're heady things. This sandwich is very good, but let there be no mistake--it's not a muffuletta. But, it's quite tasty and the ingredients can be assembled well in advance, days before you're ready to build the sandwiches. This is a vegetarian sandwich, but meat and cheese can be added. It's a great sandwich for traveling or picnics, because it doesn't get soggy or deteriorate if the bread is sturdy.
This week I'm guest hosting Weekend Herb Blogging, which was created by Kalyn at Kalyn's Kitchen. If you'd like to take part, please do. Send your link to me at rdfern[AT]sbcglobal[DOT]net by Sunday 4:00 p.m. (Utah time). I'll have the Roundup posted after The Sopranos on Sunday. Please mention my blog in your post (it makes me feel ever so important) and Weekend Herb Blogging. Go here to check out the rules for WHB, should you have further questions. Next week, WHB is hosted by Glenna at A Fridge Full Of Food...But Nothing To Eat.
My herb of choice for this week is capers, the little pickled or salted buds sold in glass jars. The classic caper comes from a Mediterranean plant, but buds from nasturtium seeds are sometimes pickled and sold as capers. Capers are rated according to size with the smallest, the size of peppercorns, viewed as the most desirable. Their taste is strong and slightly astringent. You should always rinse them before using them, as they can be quite salty. I used them here in the muffuletta mix and they gave it a nice piquant zing. But be careful, too many can overwhelm a dish.
The sandwich is quite simple to make. You grill or roast eggplant, zucchini, and onions and layer it on good bread, then sprinkle with parmesan and the "muffuletta" mix. It earned the "really good" praise from Bob. I agree.
Grilled Eggplant And Zucchini Sandwiches With "Muffuletta" Mix
(Adapted from The Mustard's Grill Napa Valley Cookbook)
1 large globe eggplant, or 3 to 4 small Asian eggplants
3 small zucchinis
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 red onion
1/2 red onion, or 2 scallions, the white and a bit of the green parts, minced
2 cloves garlic, smashed and minced
1 tablespoon capers, well drained
1 tablespoon chopped cornichons, dill or other pickles chopped
1 tablespoon chopped serrano or Fresno pepper
6 tablespoons chopped black or green olives
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
6 crusty rolls or 1 loaf ciabatta (I used individual ciabattas)
6 tablespoon mayonnaise mixed with 2 cloves minced garlic
2 red roasted bell peppers, peeled and diced
6 tablespoons grated parmesan
Trim the ends off the eggplant and cut the globe eggplant crosswise into slices about 1/2 inch thick. Cut Asian eggplant on the diagonal. Trim ends of the zucchini and slice length wise about 1/4 inch thick. Spread the eggplant and zucchini on baking pans and drizzle the olive oil on both sides and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Set aside for 30 minutes. Slice the onion into 6 thick rounds and brush carefully with olive oil so they don't break up.
Grill eggplant, zucchini, and onion on a grill over medium to low heat--this can be done with the dying embers of a grill. Or roast the veggies in an oven set at 450 degrees, turning once, until cooked through.
Make the muffuletta mix by mixing all the ingredients together. The mix can be made as much as a week in advance. Bring to room temperature before using.
To make sandwich, split the rolls and toast the cut sides, and smear with the garlic mayo. Layer bottoms with the eggplant, zucchini, and onion slices, and diced bell pepper. Sprinkle parmesan on top, then top with about 1 Tablespoon of the muffuletta mix. Close up the sandwiches.
For the whole ciabatta loaf, slice off the top, leaving the sides intact to support the goodies you'll add. Hollow out the loaf a little, and smear the mayo on top and bottom of the loaf and start layering with the eggplant, zucchini, onion, and diced bell pepper inside the loaf. Sprinkle with the parmesan cheese, add muffuletta mix and top off with the onions. Put the lid back on and press gently before cutting.