This past weekend was another busy one for me. We celebrated my Mom's birthday on Saturday with a pre-Thanksgiving Dinner and on Sunday, Yvonne and I attended a friend's Bridal Shower. This has definitely been the year for weddings! I was asked to make the side dishes for my Mom's birthday dinner and was very honored to be asked to make Sandwiches, Salads and Cupcakes for the Bridal Shower. Our friend is no ordinary bride so I knew I didn't want run-of'the-mill sandwiches. On the menu? Sonoma Chicken Salad Sandwiches with Pecans and Cranberries and Poppy Seed Dressing on Croissants, Turkey, Basil Pesto and Provolone Cheese on Sea Salt Focaccia bread, Grilled Zucchini and Roasted Eggplant with Lemon Artichoke Pesto on Olive Oil and Herb Focaccia, two types of salads, Strawberry Shortcake Cupcakes and the guest of honor's favorite, Red Velvet Cupcakes.
The morning of the event I was still undecided about what ingredients to use for the vegetarian sandwich option. I knew I wanted to use Zucchini and Eggplant on really good bread but I wasn't sure what else I wanted in it. A trip to Sprouts on the way to Yvonne's house that morning gave me the inspiration needed. I found the Olive Oil and Herb Focaccia Bread (baked fresh), the Lemon Artichoke Pesto, Roasted Red Bell Peppers and Sundried Tomatoes along with a few other sauces I was considering using. This sandwich turned out to be a great collaboration with Yvonne's creative suggestions and handling the grilling of the zucchini and roasting of the eggplant.
The combination of ingredients and the freshly baked bread was a hit with the guests, even those that were not vegetarian!
Here's how we made it:
Grilled Zucchini and Roasted Eggplant on Olive Oil and Herb Focaccia with Lemon Artichoke Sun Dried Tomato Pesto
Make 2 large sandwiches
2 loaves of Olive Oil and Herb Focaccia Bread approx 8" wide(I bought mine at Sprouts) or any other Focaccia Bread of your choice
1 small container of Lemon Artichoke Pesto (I bought mine at Sprouts in the Condiment aisle)
2 tablespoons of Sun Dried Tomatoes (packed in oil), drained
2 medium sized zucchini, sliced 1/3" thick
2 medium sized eggplant, sliced 1/3" thick (try to use Japanese Eggplant if you can find it)
3 roasted red bell pepper from a jar, split, seeds removed adn sliced into 1.5" wedges
Salt and fresh ground pepper for seasoning
Baby Spinach or Field Greens
Drizzle of Olive Oil for finishing
Drizzle of Balsamic Vinegar for finishing (optional)
Slice both loaves of bread in half, horizontally.
Heat grill pan over medium high heat and preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Spray a baking sheet with non-stick spray.
Toss the Eggplant and Zucchini slices with some olive oil, salt and pepper
Grill the Zucchini in the grill pan 3-4 minutes on each side or until desired doneness. You want them to be tender but still with a slight bite, not mushy.
Roast the Eggplant in the oven approximately 10 minutes each side. Again, you want them to be tender with a slight bite, not mushy.
Let the Eggplant and Zucchini cool to room temperature.
In the bowl of a food processer, process the Lemon Artichoke Pesto with the drained Sun Dried Tomatoes until the Sun Dried Tomatoes are chopped and incorporated but the mixture is still chunky.
Spread half of the pesto mixture on the bottom of both loaves of bread.
Lay the roasted red bell pepper slices in a circle on top of the pesto mixture.
Layer the cooled Eggplant and Zucchini on top of the roasted red bell peppers.
Top with baby spinach or mixed greens.
Drizzle with a little olive oil and balsamic vinegar if desired.
Insert Sandwich Picks and slice into wedges.
You can choose to roast OR grill your eggplant and zucchini (instead of doing both). We decided to do both due to time.
Customize this recipe using the ingredients of your choice!