August 27th, 2015
From "Street Food Diaries" by Matt Basile
Once in a while, a veggie sandwich is a good thing. Especially when you use a cheese as delicate and rich as burrata (a fresh mozzarella).
Real burrata is actually seasonal, so if you can’t get your hands on it, buffalo mozzarella will do just as well.
Cook the Veggies: Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C). Slice the eggplant, red onions, and tomatoes into rounds of equal thickness. Place the sliced tomatoes in a bowl and drizzle with olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Set the bowl aside and allow the tomatoes to suck up the acid from the vinegar. Cut the bell peppers into quarters. Place the eggplant, red onion, and peppers on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and drizzle with olive oil. Lightly season with salt and pepper, and cook for approximately 6 minutes, or until lightly browned.
Once cooked, remove the peppers from the pan and place them in a blender or food processor with the garlic and basil. Splash with a bit of olive oil and blitz the mixture until you have a chunky red pepper spread. Meanwhile, set the roasted onions aside on a plate, and place the pan of eggplant pieces back into the oven for an additional 5 minutes of cooking time. Remove the eggplant from the oven and set aside at room temperature.
Grilling the "Sangweech": Take the loaf and cut it into 2 1/2-inch (6 cm) wide strips. Cut each strip through the middle so it can be opened like a sandwich. Drizzle or brush olive oil on the outside of the top and bottom of the bread. Lightly grill the oiled pieces of focaccia on a grill pan or skillet over medium-high heat to get them nice and crispy. This only takes 2 to 3 minutes.
On each piece of warm focaccia, place some vinegar tomatoes as the first layer, followed by the roasted red onions, then roasted eggplant, and finally some red pepper spread.
Slice the Burrata cheese. It’s incredibly soft and creamy, so it’s the last thing to go on. As soon as you begin to cut the Burrata you will see its cream start to spill out of it. I wouldn’t cut each ball into any more than three pieces or you’ll lose the impact of the cheese. (You could also tear it with your hands for a more rustic look.) Place the Burrata pieces on top of the red pepper spread and then top with the final piece of foccacia. Repeat with the remaining ingredients.
If you wanted to make this a non-veggie sandwich, slices of prosciutto or Spanish ham would go very nicely with this combo.
From Street Food Diaries by Matt Basile.Copyright © Matt Basile, 2015. Reprinted by permission of Penguin Canada, a division of Penguin Random House Canada Limited. Photography credit: Kyla Zanardi.