By Elizabeth Karmel Associated Press
Sometimes the promise of leftovers is almost more exciting than the meal itself.
I like to create leftovers. When I heat my grill for dinner, I always toss on a few red and yellow bell peppers to roast, even if I don’t plan to use them for that meal.
Grilled peppers are almost effortless to make and can add so much to so many other dishes.
I call these items “grilled-overs,” and my favorite thing to do with them is assemble a grilled vegetable sandwich. It’s just the thing to make the most of whatever I grilled too much of the night before.
Sometimes I layer the veggies with shaved Parmesan and silky prosciutto, as in this recipe. Other times, I spread the bread with olive tapenade and a layer of fresh goat cheese. Regardless, grilled vegetables make a crave-worthy, healthy sandwich. They also pack really easily and provide a bit of weekend sunshine in a weekday lunch.
Tips for “grillovers”
There are a few things that you need to know when grilling vegetables.
Make sure all of the vegetables are lightly coated with oil before grilling. That will promote those beautiful grill marks, keep the veggies juicy and prevent sticking.
You also need to cut the vegetables so that they are long enough to be placed perpendicular against the grates, usually at least 3 inches long. You won’t need a vegetable basket if you slice them correctly.
Always place food horizontally on the cooking grates — or the opposite direction of the cooking grates, so they don’t slip through the grates.
Grill over a medium, direct heat and turn the vegetables once halfway through the cooking time; each vegetable will vary in the amount of time it needs. Really dense vegetables such as potatoes will need to be finished with indirect heat or the outside will burn by the time the inside is tender.
Cool them in a single layer on a sheet pan before they are stored in the refrigerator.
Grilled veggie sandwich with roasted garlic mayonnaise
- 2 red bell peppers
- 2 yellow bell peppers
- 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
- 1/4 cup olive oil, plus more for the rolls
- 1 teaspoon dried rosemary
- Kosher salt and ground black pepper
- 6 large portabella mushrooms, stems removed
- 1 medium zucchini, cut into 6 long strips
- 6 kaiser or onion rolls (or 12 thick slices of sourdough bread)
- Head of roasted garlic (see recipe below)
- 1/2 cup mayonnaise
- 1 bunch fresh basil, leaves only
- 1/2 pound chunk Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, thinly sliced with a vegetable peeler
- 1/2 pound thinly sliced prosciutto (optional)
Place the red and yellow bell peppers on the grill grate and cook, turning frequently, until the skin is charred all over, about 5 minutes per side. Use tongs to remove the peppers from the grill and place them in a large bowl. Cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap. Set aside for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, the skins should slip easily off the peppers. Slice them open, remove the seeds, then cut into large strips.
In a medium bowl, mix the vinegar, olive oil, rosemary and a bit each of salt and pepper. Add the pepper strips, turning to coat, and set aside to marinate for at least 30 minutes. This also can be done up to 3 days ahead.
When ready to grill, return the grill to high heat.
Set the mushrooms and zucchini in a large bowl. Pour the marinade off the peppers and onto the zucchini and mushrooms, tossing them lightly to coat well.
Grill the mushrooms, gill side up, for 8 to 10 minutes, then flip and grill for another minute, or until tender. Grill the zucchini slices for 3 minutes per side.
Split the rolls in half. Brush the cut sides lightly with oil. Place cut side down on grill for 2 to 3 minutes, or until golden brown.
Meanwhile, in a small bowl, mix together the garlic and mayonnaise until smooth. When the rolls are toasted, assemble the sandwiches by spreading both sides with garlic mayonnaise, then layering a mushroom, zucchini, peppers, basil leaves, cheese and proscuitto. Season with salt and pepper, if desired.
Makes 6 sandwiches. Per serving (without prosciutto): 610 calories; 290 calories from fat (48 percent of total calories); 32 g fat (8 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 30 mg cholesterol; 53 g carbohydrate; 5 g fiber; 11 g sugar; 26 g protein; 1220 mg sodium.
- 1 head garlic
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
Remove the outer layer of papery skin from the garlic. Slice off the top 1/2 inch from the pointed top of the garlic head. Set the garlic, cut side up, on a large square of foil. Drizzle it with the olive oil, then wrap the foil up and over it the garlic to form a loose packet.
Set the garlic over the cooler side of the grill and cook for 40 minutes, or until the cloves are golden-brown and soft. Remove from the grill. To remove the cloves, simply squeeze the entire head (or each clove) and the cloves should pop out of their skins.
These keep for a week in the fridge.