This is what I like to call an open-hearted, open-faced take on the classic Italian panino.  You can make the key ingredients ahead, for easy assembly on the fly. This is a perfect sandwich for your weekend  plate. The recipe was inspired from one of my favorite cookbooks, Vegetable Literacy, by Deborah Madison.

BALSAMIC CARAMELIZED ONIONS

2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
2 large sweet, white onions, sliced
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
sea salt

Heat oil in frying pan over low heat. Add onions and good pinch of salt. Cook slowly for 15-20 minutes. Stir occasionally to keep from sticking to pan. When onions are softened, golden, add sugar and balsamic. Cook over low heat for 5-10 more minutes. Stirring occasionally during caramelization process. Use immediately or story in fridge in air-tight glass jar. Can be used for up to three days.

ROASTED RED PEPPERS

2 large red peppers
3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Lightly coat peppers in olive oil. Place whole peppers on a sheet pan lined with foil. Place in oven for 30-40 minutes until skins are completely wrinkled and charred, turning them twice during the roasting. Remove and set aside to cool. Remove stem from each pepper and cut peppers into quarters. Remove peels and seeds. Place in a bowl along with any juices that have collected. Discard stems, peels, and seeds. Pour oil over the peppers. Use immediately or place in air-tight jar in fridge.

THE SANDWICH

1 large bunch of spinach, stems removed, leaves well washed
Sicilian sea salt and freshly ground pepper
1 loaf sliced Italian country bread, ciabatta or multi-grain loaf
1 garlic clove
thinly sliced ricotta salata or Halloumi
extra virgin olive oil, to finish

Warm caramelized onions in a pan over a low heat (if you have made in advance.) In another pan, wilt the spinach in the water that clings to its leaves, then season with salt and pepper. About 10 minutes. Slice the peppers into wide strips. Now for the bread. Brush bread slices lightly with olive oil and toast under broiler, turing sides to toast both sides. Remove and rub each piece with garlic. To assemble, cover each bread slice with onions, followed by spinach, the cheese and then the roasted peppers. Put one slice pepper piece diagonally across the top. Season with salt and pepper, then drizzle with olive oil.

Enjoy and eat to your heart’s content.

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