The BH and I don’t really celebrate Valentine’s day. Why spend a fortune telling someone you love them on Valentine’s day, when you really should be doing it everyday? OK, maybe not everyday, but at least more than once a year. That said, it’s also important to spoil them around this time of year, so last night I offered to make him anything he wanted from the kitchen as his gift. You can imagine how floored I was when he opted for a sandwich, and not just any sandwich, but a VEGETARIAN sandwich.
Most people find it hard to believe that the BH and I were vegetarians for over ten years. We just don’t fit the pale, skinny and interesting look most people associate with vegetarians, which probably has something to do with my love for cooking with cream and butter.
It was during the Vegetarian Years that we went looking for a sandwich that would satisfy the burger craving. Had we been in the West with ready access to quorn, we might never have discovered it. Even though we are now hardened carnivores with all the meat-eating zeal of the reformed, we still enjoy this at least once a month. I hope you do too.
There are no exact measures on this one, so go with your gut and eyeball it, to mix metaphors.
- Aubergine/Eggplant (depending on which side of the pond you live)
- Olive Oil
- Cheese (the meltier, the better)
- Sun Dried Tomato Pesto
First chop the garlic as finely as possible, pour the olive oil in a cup or ramekin and allow it to infuse for about 15 min
Preheat the oven to 200 ° C. Slice the aubergine in 1cm thick slices an place on an oiled baking tray. Brush with the garlic infused oil making sure at least one piece of garlic finishes up on a piece of aubergine. In Taiwan I used to use Japanese eggplant which are longer, thinner and less bitter than the aubergines found here, but with the advances we’ve made in food cultivation, I don’t think it’s necessary to peal, salt or soak, this vegetable. Tear up the rosemary and scatter about the tray.
Place the baking tray in the oven and cook for 30-40 minutes until they are soft and golden brown.
Slice open the bread and spread the SDT pesto on the bottom and then top with as much cheese as you can. Place the hot from the oven aubergine on top of the cheese and close the sandwich and leave for 3-4 mins so the aubergine melts the cheese.
Serve with potato wedges and a green salad.
For the potato wedges, mix canola oil (or any other oil that has a high smoke point and a mild flavour) in a large bowl with a tsp of smoked paprika, pinch of salt and a tsp of dried thyme. Cut your potatoes into wedges and toss in the oil. Bake at 200° C for 30-40mins, until soft and fluffy on the inside and crispy on the outside.