Happy Summer! I know it’s a few days late, but for the first official weekend of Summer I really wanted something grilled. Of course, it’s a little difficult on the 3rd floor of a Brooklyn apartment, so instead I hauled my grill pan out from under the bed, wiped the cat hair off it, and grilled up some tempeh, veggies and bread.
Usually when people hear “grilled sandwich”, they think panini. That’s not really what this is. I brushed olive oil over thickly sliced zucchini, bell pepper, tempeh and whole grain sourdough, slid them between the grill pan and the press, and waited until they were tender and showed some sweet-lookin’ grill marks. To assemble these open faced sandwiches I stacked everything up, and slathered a cilantro-based chimichurri sauce between each layer. They are slightly messy to eat, but they really hit the spot. If you’ve ever been to an Argentinian restaurant then you’ve had chimichurri. It’s an herb and oil based sauce, similar to pesto, but without the cheese and nuts.
Go ahead and experiment with different vegetables if you like. Eggplant and portobello mushrooms stick out to me as being great choices to grill. This recipe is based on the Food Matters Project pick for the week. Mark Bittman’s recipe grills lots of veggies and some chicken on a real grill (he says you can also use the broiler), but the times on my version are for the grill pan, which are about half as long as what Bittman suggests.So if you are using a real grill, leave everything on for 18-20 minutes. Try to cut all everything approximately the same size, it will be easier to stack and eat.
1 zucchini or summer squash, thickly sliced lengthwise
1 bell pepper (any color you like) sliced into 4 big slabs
8 oz. tempeh, sliced into 4 thin-ish slabs
4 slices of good quality whole grain bread
1/4 c. olive oil, plus more for brushing
1 tightly packed cup of cilantro (parsley is good too, and more traditional)
1 T. lemon juice
scant 1/2 tsp. sea salt
1 plump garlic clove
1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes
Heat a grill pan over medium high heat, laying the press on top to warm as well. While it warms up, slice all the ingredients and brush them with olive oil.
When the grill is hot, lay some of the vegetables out, lay the press on top, and leave it for 10 minutes. Don’t overcrowd the grill, you may have to do it in batches. When you grill the tempeh, leave it for 5 minutes, then give the slices a quarter turn and leave for another 5 minutes, to get the cross grill marks.
Grill the bread for 3 minutes only.
While everything is grilling, make the chimichurri. Combine cilantro, lemon juice, garlic, salt and pepper flakes in a food processor. Start it up and drizzle the olive oil in while the machine is running. You’ll have to stop it and scrape down the sides a few times along the way.
To serve, lay the bread out, brush a thick layer of chimichurri on it. Lay the tempeh on top of that and brush on more sauce. Continue stacking veggies and brushing chimichurri sauce until you are out of stuff to stack. Finish with the sauce on top.