Focaccia sandwich with roasted vegetables, tapenade and goats’ cheese

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Preparation info

  • Difficulty

    Easy

Appears in

The Café Paradiso Cookbook

The Café Paradiso Cookbook

By Denis Cotter

Published 1999

  • About

A recipe to turn one of the bread loaves into a meal. Though I’ve given specific vegetables and a cheese here, what I would really recommend is that you use what you’ve got and like. For me, the fennel is vital in the mix, but if you don’t like fennel don’t use it.

Ingredients

  • 1 medium aubergine
  • olive oil
  • 1 red onion
  • ½ fennel bulb
  • 1 small red or yellow pepper
  • 1 medium courgette
  • 8 cloves garlic, halved
  • 1 rosemary, tomato and onion loaf
  • 3 tblsps tapenade
  • fresh herbs: any of basil, parsley, oregano, marjoram
  • 150 goats’ cheese sliced

Method

SLICE THE AUBERGINE crossways into rounds about 10 mm thick, cut these in half, brush them with oil and roast them in a hot oven, 380-400°F (Gas Mark 5-6), for ten to twelve minutes until cooked through and browned. Meanwhile slice the red onion and fennel in thin quarter-rings, toss them in olive oil in an oven dish and put them into the hot oven while you chop the other vegetables. Quarter the pepper, then slice these pieces across, not too thin, then slice the courgette similarly into fat matchsticks. Add these vegetables and the garlic to the onion and fennel, add a little more oil and return them to the oven until they are tender and browning. Check them often and stir them around now and then. It should take 15 minutes or so. Then turn the oven down to 350°F (Gas Mark 4).

Carefully slice the bread in half horizontally, and spread the tapenade on the bottom piece, then cover that with a layer of the aubergines. Season the other vegetables and spread them over the aubergine slices. Next scatter on any fresh herbs you’re using, then place a layer of cheese slices. Put the top piece of the loaf back on and press lightly on it. Wrap the loaf, or sandwich as it may now be called, in foil and put it back in the oven. It’s a bit messy to be regularly checking something wrapped in foil, so leave it for 20 minutes before you have a look. It will be done then or in another ten. The cheese will be melting and the whole thing warmed through. If you like a more ‘baked’ effect, take the foil off for the last five minutes of cooking; if you want a more all-melded-into-one finish, cook the wrapped sandwich at a lower temperature for longer. I’ve done loaves three times this size very low for two hours, with brilliant results.

Leave the sandwich to rest for a few minutes when it comes out of the oven, then cut it into as many pieces are there are people sitting at your table. With a salad of lettuce leaves and any other greens with olive oil and balsamic vinegar this will make a fine lunch. If you can, eat it outside with a bottle of something light and crisp.