If I was a practical food blogger, I’d follow the rest of the blogosphere and post holiday recipes to attract visitors and “oo”s and “ah”s from all my awesome readers. But nope, I’m ignoring social conventions to write about a grilled vegetable sandwich that screams summer. Thanksgiving is next week, I get it. But it doesn’t feel like the holidays to me. What happened to November? Wasn’t I just in a bathing suit on the beach? How did I get so pale?! If I didn’t know any better, I’d assumed I’ve been in a coma because the last few months are a blur. The weather isn’t helping me keep track of time either. On Monday it was in the 60s, but today is low 30?! When I’m king of the universe, shenanigans like that will be illegal.
But I digress…
I’m way too obsessed with vegetable sandwiches to care about the silly ol’ seasons. Even though I’ve already written about my all time favorite version (found here), that doesn’t stop me from branching out to try new flavor combinations. What I’ve learned in my 26 years of eating is that there are an infinite number of ingredient combinations that allow us to have multiple favorites. Why pick one “kid” when you can love them all. So this version is piled high with tomatoes, yellow squash, asparagus, zucchini, and crunchy carrots. Oh yeah, and there’s a sprinkling of almonds and Parmesan cheese with a healthy drizzle of a sticky sweet balsamic reduction.
Since grilled vegetables are my favorite (along with roasted and raw), I toss most of them on the grill. The vegetables get a slight char from the flames and they’re piled high on the juicy, fresh tomatoes. Steam from the cooked vegetables kind of melt the tomato and ooze into the bread…it’s like a makeshift “sauce” of deliciousness. A satisfying crunch comes from the asparagus and carrots, and is contrasted against the softer squash/zucchini. A little bit of cheese and almonds would be enough to make this an epic sandwich, but I go even further by adding in a balsamic reduction that makes everything taste decadent.
This sandwich allows the purity of each ingredient to shine. It’s a simple preparation but satisfying flavor (gosh that sounded salesy haha). The bread is crusty, vegetables delicious, and balsamic simply awesome. Enjoy!
Grilled Vegetable Sandwich w/ Balsamic & Almonds (makes 4 servings)
1 cup balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 yellow squash
1 bundle of asparagus
1 large tomato
2 tablespoons slivered almonds
2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese
Salt/pepper, to taste
Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
In a small saucepan over medium-low heat, pour the balsamic vinegar. Simmer for 20 minutes, or until reduced in half. Remove from heat.
Meanwhile, cut the zucchini into “steaks”, squash into “coins”, and snap the woody ends off of the asparagus. Julienne the carrots. Drizzle the vegetables with oil. Sprinkle with salt/pepper. Put zucchini, squash, and asparagus on a grill over medium-high heat. Zucchini and squash takes between 2-3 minutes per side. Asparagus takes about 5-6 minutes total. Place the carrots into a skillet with s splash of oil and cook over medium-high heat, or until lightly brown (stirring occasionally, about 3-4 minutes).
Cut the tomato into fourths and then slice.
Cut baguette in half to make 2 pieces. Slice each piece in half, length-ways.
To assemble: Take one of the slices of baguette. Top with two slices of tomato, then 3 squash, 3 asparagus, 1 piece of zucchini, and some of the carrots. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and toasted almonds. Repeat for the other 3 servings. Bake for 5 minutes or until the cheese is lightly golden.
Remove from oven and drizzle with the balsamic reduction.
Serve and enjoy!