Sunday, August 28, 2011

Grilled Zucchini Sandwiches

Steve came up with this variation on a portobello-sandwich recipe we found in the Penzeys Spices catalog a couple years ago. I searched and searched for the original recipe on the Penzeys site, to no avail. Anyway, we love the portobello sandwiches and have them way too often, considering the price of portobellos. Steve figured that since we have no shortage of zucchini, it grills well, and it's way cheaper than portobellos even if you have to buy it at the store, we should try using it instead. This recipe works particularly well with zucchini that is enormous. We serve the sandwiches with homemade chipotle mayo, which is spicy and divine (keep in mind that I don't like mayonnaise), but you don't have to.

I forgot to include the chipotle mayo in the photo!

Mayonnaise (about 2-4 tablespoons)
Chipotle powder, to taste (If you have trouble finding this, check the hispanic-foods section of your grocery store. It's often sold in bags hanging near the bags of peppers, rather than in jars. If you still can't find it or would rather not have to buy something new, a mixture of cayenne and chili powder will also work.)
Olive oil (we used about 1/3 to 1/2 c. for 8 large zucchini slices)
Freshly pressed garlic (a clove or two)
Parsley, to taste--either dried flakes or chopped fresh parsley (we usually use dried because it's easier and turns out fine)
Seasoned salt, to taste (watch out for the MSG-laden ones, folks!)
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Large zucchini, sliced into 1/2-inch-thick rounds
Sliced crusty bread or rolls (we used asiago-cheese bread)
Cheese, sliced (we usually use pepper jack or white cheddar)

Mix together the mayonnaise and the chipotle powder. Put in the fridge to chill for a while so the chipotle flavor pervades the mayonnaise. In a shallow, wide-ish bowl, mix together the olive oil, garlic, parsley, seasoned salt, and black pepper. Dip the zucchini slices in the oil mixture, coating them well on both sides with the oil and spices. Put them on the hot grill. Once the underside of the zucchini has nice grill marks on it, flip it. At this point, put the slices of bread on the grill too. Cook the zucchini for another couple minutes. Then flip the bread slices over. Put the grilled zucchini slices on half of the bread slices (the other slices will go on top later). Place the cheese slices on top of the zucchini, and continue grilling until the cheese is melty. Then put the other bread slices on top to make sandwiches, and remove them from the grill. Serve with the chipotle mayo for dipping. Alternately, you can spread chipotle mayo on the bread after grilling.

These were yummy and well received by all. We will definitely repeat this recipe variation. If you want to make the delicious but pricey portobello version instead, increase the olive-oil mixture considerably (portobellos soak up a lot). Compost the portobello stems. Dip the portobello caps in the oil mixture, coating both sides well with all the goodies. Put the portobellos on the hot grill, underside down. Flip after 3-5 minutes. Continue as described in the above recipe. We usually use ciabatta rolls with the portobello version.

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