Dining In

Snazzy Sandwiches
By Nancy Finch, Food Columnist

Snazzy SandwichesSandwiches have gone glamorous.

Remember ordering a grilled cheese sandwich? Unheard of now for many of us who get food-bored.

Chefs in trendy spots are capitalizing on interest in new taste experiences in sandwiches with great results! Sandwich creativity can include avocados, unique cheeses, variety breads, hummus, sprouts, peppers, exotic mustards — not what many of us once expected in a sandwich.

Here are two sandwiches that are, indeed, adventures. In fact, for one tester, who would be perfectly happy with the prosaic grilled cheese, these sandwiches were a bit too adventurous.

Maybe the sandwiches are "women fare". Women testers gave star ratings. Men, we found, would not likely say, "Can you pack me a lunch with that great portobello, goat cheese and sun-dried tomato sandwich?"

These sandwiches were described as "easy-to-make" by the creators. Not exactly. But, good? Yes, indeed! In fact, prepared as open face sandwiches on small pita wedges, these sandwiches would make a great hors d’oeuvre. That was a suggestion of the male testers. Or, for fall tailgate parties, these sandwiches will add just the right dazzle.

Eggplant and Mozzarella Sandwiches with Pesto Spread


Pesto Spread:

bullet1 c fresh basil leaves
bullet1/2 c walnuts
bullet1/2 c grated fresh Parmesan cheese
bullet1 t hot pepper sauce (or to taste)
bullet1 medium garlic clove
bullet1/8 t salt
bullet3 T olive oil


bullet3 T olive oil
bullet1 medium eggplant, cut into
bullet1/2-inch slices
bullet1 sweet red pepper, roasted
bullet1 Italian flatbread (foccacia,
bulletor other flat bread round)
bullet8 oz. mozzarella, grated or sliced

Directions: Spread: Combine basil, walnuts, Parmesan cheese, pepper sauce, garlic and salt in blender or food processor. Process. Gradually add olive oil until well blended. Eggplant: Pour olive oil on large cookie baking sheet (with sides). Dip eggplant slices in oil on both sides (won’t cover completely). Place eggplant, on sheet, under broiler. Broil several minutes. Turn and broil on other side. When cooked, leave on sheet in oven until needed. Roasted peppers: Slice red, sweet pepper in half. Remove seeds and stem. Place pepper halves, cut side down, on baking sheet. Brush tops with olive oil. Place peppers under broiler and broil until skin begins to blacken. Remove from oven. Place a bowl or container over the peppers to contain steam. Allow peppers to sit covered. Steam will soften skin which may then be easily peeled off. Slice peppers. Assembling sandwich: Spread bread with pesto. Place eggplant on next, then mozzarella. Add roasted pepper slices. Top with remaining bread. Option: If eating right away, wrap sandwich in foil and place in warm oven so cheese can melt. Serves 4.

Portobello Goat Cheese Sandwiches with Sun-Dried Tomato Spread



bullet1/2 c sun-dried tomatoes, packed in oil
bullet1 T olive oil
bullet1 t pepper sauce (or to taste)
bullet1 garlic clove


bullet1 T olive oil
bullet2 large portobello mushrooms, each cut 1/2-inch
bulletthick (or regular mushrooms may be used)
bulletFlatbread such as foccacia or 6-inch hero rolls
bullet4 oz. goat cheese, cut into 1/4-inch slices

Directions: Spread: Combine tomatoes, olive oil, pepper sauce and garlic in blender or food processor. Process until smooth. Sandwiches: Heat oil in 12-inch skillet over medium heat. Add mushroom slices. Cook until tender on both sides, turning once. Pizza Style: Spread tomato mixture on flat bread. Layer mushrooms, then goat cheese on top. Place bread with topping under broiler and broil just until cheese begins to melt. Hero Style: If using hero rolls for sandwiches, spread tomato mixture on bottom of rolls, layer mushrooms and cheese. Add roll tops. Serve cold or wrap in foil and place in warm oven until serving time. Serves 4.


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