Lazy summer weekends require just a little bit of advanced planning to fall into place perfectly. I may want to relax and enjoy my weekends, but I also want to have great tasting, good meals to enjoy at my leisure. I’ve made pressed sandwiches in many variations; I prefer mostly to have an all veggie stuffing. It may not be all that kid friendly but I don’t have to worry about that these days.
When my children were younger, I would make a Muffuletta with deli turkey and brie. We’d pack up this sandwich for weekend trips to Sanibel or beach picnics. It carries really well; prepared ahead of time and sliced when ready to eat. Can’t get much easier or better than that!
I really miss those road trips. My daughter would carry on and on hating being in the car, her stomach always hurting. My son and her would fight over what dvd movie to play, he liked the action type or scary ones and she liked the girly teen movies. Once settled on the movie to watch, we dealt with her sitting too close to him, volume adjusting too loud, too quiet, fidgeting, complaints and finally falling asleep. Some of the most wonderful memories I will always cherish.
Eggplant, Mozzarello and Arugula Muffuletta with Sun Dried Tomato and Olive Dressing
1/3 cup sun dried tomatoes
¼ cup pitted kalamata olives
¼ cup olive oil – or less
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 tablespoons parsley leaves
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
1 loaf Rosemary bread or other freshly bakede rustic style bread
1 eggplant, peeled and cut into ¼ inch horizontal slices
2 peppers, either red or combination of red, yellow or orange
½ pound mozzarella cheese
2 cups arugula
For the dressing:
Place sun dried tomatoes in enough boiling water to cover. Let stand for 15 minutes to soften. Drain and add to food processor along with the olives, garlic anchovy paste, parsley and pepper. Slowly add in olive oil to form a paste; not excessively oily. Refrigerate until ready to use, can be made a day ahead.
For the grilled eggplant:
Lightly oil each slices and grill until tender. Season with kosher salt and black pepper. Set aside to cool.
For the roasted peppers:
Place peppers on grill and grill until charred all over. Or use a foil lined broiler pan and broil until charred all over. Immediately place peppers into a paper bag and allow to cool. When cool enough to handle, peel off skin, discard seeds and slice into large sections. Do not rinse the peppers, just use your hands to rub off the skin and seeds. Set aside.
For the muffuletta:
Cut bread horizontally with a serrated knife. Remove some of the bread from the inside on both halves, leaving about ½ inch crust. Save bread in the freezer for bread crumbs or stuffing. Spread both cut sides with some of the dressing. Layer in the eggplant slices, top with roasted pepper slices. Spread another light layer of the dressing and top with mozzarella slices. Add another layer of eggplant slices and top with arugula. Firmly press sandwich closed with top crust and tightly wrap with plastic wrap or foil. Refrigerate until ready to cut and serve. Also panini pressing this sandwich is awesome!!