I've had this recipe from Martha Stewart for a long time, and I've adapted it several times - always for picnics - but I have never made the sandwich exactly as written. And today was no different! I deviated quite a bit, forgoing almost all of the suggested fillings and instead putting in the components of this Greek salad. It was good! :) I made enough of the salad to keep for lunches. Perfect.
Someday I am going to get around to making this recipe in its original form. Seriously.
Sort of a Hero Sandwich
To transport this sandwich, place it on a round board or flat plate, and wrap tightly in plastic. Unwrap and slice just before serving.
1 large round loaf bread
6 large portobello mushrooms, stems trimmed to 1/2 inch
Olive oil, for brushing
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 large fennel bulb, thinly sliced
7 medium tomatoes, cored and sliced
1 small red onion(4 ounces), peeled, thinly sliced, and rings separated
2 large yellow peppers, roasted, peeled, and cut lengthwise into thick slices
6 cups fresh basil leaves, washed
Creamy Tomato Dressing (recipe follows)
1. Cut bread in half horizontally. Using a short serrated knife, carve out insides of bread, in whole pieces if possible. Using a long serrated knife, thinly slice inside pieces. Cover; set aside. Pull out any remaining bread from crusts, leaving 1/4-inch bread border. Cover crusts; set aside.
2. Thinly slice mushrooms. Heat a grill to medium hot, or place a grill pan over high heat. Brush mushrooms with olive oil; sprinkle with salt and pepper. Grill until tender, 2 to 3 minutes per side.
3. Brush fennel with oil; sprinkle with salt and pepper. Grill until tender, 3 to 4 minutes per side.
4. Arrange filling in bottom of bread: First, cover with half the tomatoes, then half the onions. Sprinkle with salt and pepper; drizzle with 3 tablespoons dressing. Cover with 1 cup basil, and top with a layer of sliced bread. The second layer is made up of half the mushrooms, then salt and pepper, dressing, basil, and bread. The third layer is peppers, salt and pepper, dressing, basil, and bread. The fourth layer is the remaining mushrooms, salt and pepper, dressing, basil, and bread. The fifth layer is fennel, salt and pepper, dressing, basil, and bread. The last layer is the remaining tomatoes, onions, salt and pepper, dressing, and basil.
5. Place top of bread on bottom half, enclosing vegetables. Wrap with plastic; weight with heavy books. Let stand 45 minutes.
6. Unwrap sandwich. Using a large serrated knife, cut into eight wedges.
Creamy Tomato Dressing
Makes about 1 cup
3 ripe tomatoes(12 ounces), cored
1/4 cup low fat (1 percent) cottage cheese
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon olive oil
2 tablespoons chopped fresh marjoram
1 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1. Cut tomatoes into quarters; puree in a food processor. Pass through a strainer into a bowl; discard seeds and skin.
2. Using a rubber spatula, press cottage cheese through a strainer into tomatoes. Add remaining ingredients; whisk to combine. Refrigerate until ready to use.