Mediterranean Pressed Cob Sandwich – Fun with Reference Materials
My son and I discovered a great sandwich that’s fun to make, especially for librarians – or for anyone who likes to press their food overnight under several volumes of an encyclopedia. And, really, who doesn’t?
When we found it, the recipe was called Mediterranean Layered Sandwich. Pfft. Any sandwich with more than one ingredient can be called “layered.” And this is not just a single-serving sandwich; this thing is large and strong and serves six people all by itself. It’s made with what the recipe calls a 9-inch cob loaf. That might have thrown us. Cob? Huh? But then we laughed – ha ha ha, we’re librarians! We could look it up! So we did and it turns out a cob is a round loaf of bread. Okay, that’s a fun thing to know, so why not put that in the recipe’s name, too? That makes it a point of conversation, almost exotic, and certainly more interesting than “layered.
So we renamed the sandwich, made it, and fell in love. The original the recipe, which you’ll find below, calls for pesto spread around the inside of your hollowed out cob. It’s delicious that way, but we’ve also made it spread with caramelized red onion (to which I added a bit of balsamic vinegar) and with kousa mabshoura (which is a fabulous spread made with zucchini like you’ve never had zucchini before.) You can find a recipe for kousa mabshoura (and other uses for it) in a post I did on Amy Alessio’s Vintage Cookbooks and Crafts blog.
We also vary the layers. Grilled or roasted carrots are a nice addition. Portabello mushrooms would be wonderful. As for the ricotta? It was okay but didn’t add anything special. We used it the first time and haven’t bothered since. Sometime I’ll try another cheese. Gruyere, maybe, or sharp cheddar or a good goat cheese. Fontina! And maybe a layer of spinach? Roasted garlic? The possibilities are endless and mouth-watering to contemplate.
So then we come to the pressing. Fun! The cookbook says to use heavy food cans to slowly squash the cob overnight. We don’t have heavy cans in our cupboard or many cans at all. What we do have is a set of 1988 World Book Encyclopedias which I’ve been meaning to get rid of. But am I ever glad I didn’t! You can probably substitute another edition or maybe another encyclopedia set altogether, but we’ve found that three volumes of the World Book 1988 do the perfect pressing job.
My review of this recipe? VDS – Very Darn Satisfying because it involves reference tools doing what they do best – feeding our hunger for knowledge while feeding our hungry bodies with a truly delicious sandwich.
Mediterranean Pressed Cob Sandwich
1 9-inch round bread loaf (called a cob in Britain and Australia)
6 oz. Pesto
2 sweet potatoes (about 1 pound total) cut lengthwise into ¼-inch slices
1 small eggplant cut lengthwise into ½-inch slices
3 small zucchini cut lengthwise into ½-inch slices
2 red bell peppers
7 oz. ricotta cheese
⅓ c. grated Parmesan cheese
⅓ c. olive oil
Special equipment: bread knife, spoon, plastic wrap, 3 volumes of your favorite encyclopedia, 2 cookie sheets or 2 large plates
1. Quarter the peppers, remove the ribs and seeds, and stem. Cook under broiler until skin is blisters and blackens. Cool in paper bag, then peel. Brush the eggplant, sweet potato, and zucchini with the olive oil and broil, grill until tender and browned.
2. Cut the lid from the loaf of bread as though you were cutting the lid from a pumpkin. Using the spoon and your hands, scoop the soft bread from the inside of the loaf, leaving a ½-inch shell. Save the removed bread for another use. Bread pudding sounds good. Mmm, with chocolate chips. Brush the inside and the lid with the pesto. Layer in the zucchini and peppers, sprinkle with salt, pepper, oregano and thyme, then spread with the ricotta and Parmesan. Layer in the sweet potato and the eggplant and sprinkle with more of the seasonings as desired. Replace the lid.
3. Cover the loaf with plastic wrap and place on a plate or cookie sheet. Put another plate or cookie sheet on top of the loaf. Put this stack in refrigerator and balance three encyclopedia volumes on the top cookie sheet. Refrigerate overnight.
4. Preheat oven to 500º F. Remove the plastic wrap, then bake for 10 minutes, or until crispy. Cut into wedges and serve.
|Encyclopedias for pressing the sandwich!|
|Make space in the fridge for your sandwich to press overnight!|
|The yummy finished product!|
Molly MacRae is the author of the Haunted Yarn Shop mysteries from NAL/Obsidian (Penguin Group.) Last Wool and Testament, first in the series, is available in mass market, e-book, and audio book. Dyeing Wishes, second in the series, comes out in July 2013.
Molly blogs is a regular contributor on Killer Characters and Vintage Cookbooks and Crafts. You can connect with Molly on Facebook and Pinterest.