Combining the taste and texture of Italy’s famed rustic flat bread with grilled seasonal vegetables yields a wealth of flavor from simple ingredients. The wholesome sandwich is wonderful served hot from the grill, but it is also excellent eaten cold, making it an ideal choice to be included in a patio menu.
- For Oil:
- 1 1/2 cups extra-virgin olive oil
- 3 cloves garlic
- 5 fresh rosemary sprigs
- For Vegetables:
- 1 red bell pepper
- 4 thin slices fennel, cut through the stem end
- 4 slices eggplant, cut crosswise
- 1 zucchini, thinly sliced lengthwise
- 12 asparagus spears, tough ends removed
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly cracked pepper
- 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
- 1 teaspoon finely chopped garlic
- 1 fresh portobello mushroom, brushed clean
- 4 slices red (Spanish) onion
- 4 sandwich-sized focaccias
- 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- 1 1/2 cups lightly packed inner yellow frisee leaves
FOR OIL: In a small saucepan over low heat, combine the oil, garlic cloves and 3 of the rosemary sprigs, and heat until the oil is too hot to touch comfortably, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool completely. Remove and discard the rosemary sprigs. Add the remaining 2 rosemary sprigs to the oil and set aside.
FOR VEGETABLES: Prepare a fire in a charcoal grill using hardwood charcoal such as mesquite or hickory. While the coals are still glowing red, place the bell pepper on the grill rack and grill, turning as necessary, until charred on all sides. Remove and let cool for 5 minutes; then using your fingers or a small knife, peel off the charred skin. Cut in half lengthwise and remove the seeds and ribs. Cut each half in half again. Set aside.
Bring a saucepan 3/4 full of water to a boil. Add the fennel, boil for 1 minute and drain. In a large bowl, toss together the fennel, eggplant, zucchini, asparagus, salt, pepper, thyme and garlic. Drizzle on just enough of the rosemary oil to coat everything lightly and toss again. Brush the mushroom and the onion slices with some of the remaining rosemary oil.
When the coals have burned down to a gray ash, place all the vegetables on the grill rack and grill until they begin to appear translucent. Turn the vegetables as needed and move them around on the grill to prevent burning. The fennel and eggplant will take 3 minutes on each side; the mushroom 2-3 minutes on each side; the asparagus and zucchini about 2 minutes on each side.
TO ASSEMBLE: Split the focaccias in half horizontally. Brush the cut sides lightly with the remaining rosemary oil and place, cut sides down, over the coals to toast lightly. Place the bottoms, cut sides up, on 4 plates. Divide the grilled vegetables evenly among the focaccia bottoms. Cut the mushroom into 4 slices, and place a mushroom slice and a piece of roasted pepper atop each stack of vegetables. Drizzle the balsamic vinegar evenly over the tops, then cover with equal amounts of the frisée and finally the focaccia tops.
Recipe reprinted by permission of Weldon Owen. All rights reserved.
nutrition information per serving
134 calories; 1g total fat; 0mg cholesterol; 469mg sodium; 28g carbohydrates; 6g fiber; 6g protein
These nutrition facts are calculated according to the ingredients listed in this recipe. Any substitutions will change these facts. Although we strive for accuracy, please note that food manufacturers occasionally change their food formulas, which could affect the calculations as shown.
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