There are days when I surprise myself, sometimes even in a good way. I was thinking a lot about lunches to pack when school starts back up again (and kittens, but that is another story) and kept trying to think of things I could take that do not require a refrigerator or a microwave. I don’t know about anyone else, but work-place fridges and microwaves are a little suspect most days, and in all honesty, I really don’t want most of my lunch time to be taken up with waiting for the microwave.
So the sandwich. Yes, I’ve done versions of this before, but I may have hit on perfection with this one. I tried a new way to make eggplant bacon and a new pesto concoction and the combination was incredible. Bob said the balance of flavors was perfect and he didn’t mind eating the same thing for lunch two days in a row.
For the eggplant bacon I used the marinade recipe from Oh My Veggies. Instead of cooking the eggplant in a frying pan (which I’ve done and they come out great) I cooked them for about an hour in a 200 degree oven, sort of like dehydrating. The texture was prefect and the eggplant held up for the next day. The slices need to be very thin for this method, but for eggplant bacon, thinner is better no matter the method.
I forgot to take my kale pesto out of the freezer and I didn’t want to make a tomato mozzarella sandwich without some pesto. I had a little basil, but not enough to make a full batch of pesto, and I had spinach in the fridge that I needed to use up, so spinach pesto it was. And oh my goodness was I glad I did this. The pesto was bright and tangy and pretty much perfect.
The sandwich is your basic tomato-mozzarella sandwich combined with a vegetarian version of a bacon-lettuce-tomato sandwich. Start with a good bread – I like ciabatta bread myself, but any you like will do. I toasted the bread under the broiler for a few minutes to get it nice and crispy and eliminate any issues with stale bread. To the bread I added 1 tablespoon of spinach pesto to each slice then topped with the eggplant bacon, mozzarella and tomatoes. That is pretty much it. I made these as open-faced sandwiches to keep a good balance of bread to filling and it worked well.
- leaves from two stems of basil
- 1 large handful spinach leaves
- 2 cloves garlic
- juice of 1/2 lemon
- 2 oz. walnuts
- 2 oz. toasted almonds
- <1/4 cup grated pecorino cheese
- salt and pepper to taste
- olive oil (about 3 tablespoons)
Place basil, spinach, garlic, lemon juice, nuts and cheese in a food processor and pulse until the leaves of the basil and spinach as fine. scrape down the sides and add oil, salt and pepper and pulse until the pesto is well combines.