meatless {memorial} monday: open-faced grilled veg sammy

the outdoor vegetarian is: rustic, hearty, bright.

From HuffPo’s Kitchen Daily way back in March and a perfect contribution to the outdoor cooking that’s going on across this great land of ours. Eggplant, like a portobello or thick wedge of squash, is a meaty, rich vegetable that provides sustenance for the meatless. When a slice of eggplant gets that nice char and smokiness inherent to grilled foods, meat is naturally, easily substituted and not at all missed.

Happy Memorial Day to you, yours, and in remembrance to those who’ve served and continue to serve. Peace.

Grilled Eggplant Sandwich with Creamy Celeriac Sauce
Adapted from The Inspired Vegan: Seasonal Ingredients, Creative Recipes, Mouthwatering Menus by Bryant Terry, 2012.

For the creamy celeriac sauce:
1/2 lb. silken tofu
2 tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 tbsp. minced fresh parsley
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 tsp. agave nectar
1/2 tsp. dijon mustard
2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp. paprika
A few pinches of cayenne
Coarse sea salt
Freshly ground white pepper
1/4 c. minced green onions (green and white parts)
1/2 c. loosely packed, peeled and coarsely grated celery root (celeriac)

For the sandwiches:
1/4 c. extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp. coarse sea salt
1/4 tsp. cayenne
1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1 med. eggplant (about 1 lb.), sliced crosswise into 1/2-in. rounds
2  med. red onions, sliced crosswise into 1/2-in. rounds
4 heirloom tomatoes, cut crosswise into 1/2-in. slices
1 loaf of rustic bread, cut diagonally into eight 1/2-in. slices
Freshly ground white pepper

For the sauce:
 In a blender, combine tofu, lemon juice, 1 tbsp. of parsley, garlic, agave nectar, mustard, olive oil, paprika, cayenne, 1/2 tsp. of salt, and 1/4 tsp. of pepper and blend until smooth. If necessary, season with additional salt and pepper to taste. Transfer sauce to a bowl, stir in green onions and celery root, and garnish with remaining parsley.

For the sandwiches: Preheat a grill or broiler. Soak eight 12-in. wooden skewers in water for at least 30 min. In a mixing bowl, combine olive oil, salt, cayenne, and black pepper and mix well with a fork. Add vegetables to the bowl, toss to coat.

Thread the onion slices onto two skewers each. Transfer onions and eggplant rounds to the grill and cook, turning once with tongs, until browned and slightly crisp, 3 to 4 min. per side. After turning the vegetables, add bread to the grill. Cook, turning once, until crisp and golden on the surface but still soft inside, about 4 min.

Assemble sandwich by layering a slice of eggplant, a slice of tomato, and several slices of onion. Slather on some celeriac sauce, then sprinkle with salt and pepper before serving.

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