In New England, the celebrations surrounding the 4th of July are palpable; parades, center of town concerts, strawberry shortcake festivals. Weeks in advance, the white clapboard houses lining the proverbial main street, north street and south street don their festive regalia in preparation for independence day celebrations. Flags and buntings unfurl from their wintry storage places, with a brisk dusting off, they begin to don the front porches and entryways of various houses. Planters and hanging baskets begin to fill with red white and blue petunia or begonia and window boxes are outfitted with miniature flags on little gold-capped wooden sticks, the very same that line the brick pathways leading from street to the front doors of many houses this time of year. While the 4th of July conjures this very specific imagery, it celebrations also manifest in the form of backyard picnics, cookouts and potlucks.
It’s a holiday with its own specific menu of foods, including but not limited to, hot dogs and hamburgers, potato salads and pies of red strawberries, blueberries and copious amounts of whipped cream. This holiday is also filled with many gorgeous recipes for the grill. There is nothing quite like the flavor that can be achieved by putting almost everything on the grill. This time of year it becomes our main cooking station. Perfecting in minutes grilled vegetables from the garden, local new england shellfish like clams and oysters and all manner of other scrummy foods. But one of the things I love best this time of year is any and all bread on the grill. Those gorgeous dark grill lines perfect for topping with slices of fresh tomato, smatterings of pesto, a little ricotta and grilled peaches, adding torn pieces to caesar salads. The possibilities are endless really but bread from the grill is something I never tire of eating. So, for this holiday, I thought I would share one of my most favorite sandwich recipes which just so happens to be made on the grill. The perfect picnic-ready fare, I’ve been making variations on this theme for years. They pack well and can be made a few hours in advance. Until this year I have been experimenting with all manner of breads but never really settled on just one that can stand up to all the goodness on this sandwich that is until I started using La Brea Bakery Ciabatta Take And Bake Rolls (you can find a coupon for them and lots of other great recipes Summer Grilling Recipes on the La Brea Bakery site). I love that with these Take and Bake Ciabatta rolls, I can have gorgeous and flavorful bread at home and their crusty outside and soft centers are so lovely for these summer vegetable sandwiches. I cooked them directly on the grill to let them take on lots of smokey charcoal flavor while getting those beautiful dark grill lines. Sweet potato slices on the grill add even more smokey notes to this sandwich and pleasing sweetness comes from the pickled carrots plus lots of fresh crunch and texture from cool cumbers and heaps of sprouts and lettuces.
Summer Grilled Vegetable Sandwich
Total Time: 1 hour. Hands-On Time: 30 minutes . 8 servings
Notes: roast the entire head of garlic – papery skins removed, cloves left intact. Cut the head off the garlic exposing the cloves. place in aluminum foil, drizzle with 2 Tbsp of olive oil and wrap tightly in the foil. Bake in a preheated 400 degree oven for 50-60 minutes or until pierced cloves are soft all the way through. You won’t regret having a whole head of roasted garlic on hand as It’s perfect for lots of dressings or simply rubbing on a slice of grilled bread
- 2 packages of La Brea Bakery Take & Bake Ciabatta Rolls
- 1 Cup thick natural greek yogurt
- 4-5 cloves of roasted garlic, depending on size.
- 3-4 medium sweet potatoes, scrubbed and dried. Skins left on
- 1 medium/large garden cucumber
- 1 head red leaf lettuce
- 1 package alfalfa sprouts (or other small sprouts)
- 1/2 small red onion
- 4 large carrots, scrubbed and dried. skins on
- 1 cup water
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup white vinegar
- 1 bunch fresh dill
- Olive Oil
- Salt and Pepper
First make the pickled carrots – they can be made a day or two in advance or at least one hour before making the sandwiches. Using a vegetable peeler, peel carrots into long strips and place in a bowl. In a medium sauce pan, combine the water, sugar, vinegar and 1 Tbsp salt. Place over medium high heat and stir until sugar is combined. Allow mixture to cool, 5 – 6 minutes then pour over the carrots. Place a plate on top of the carrots and pickling liquid to weigh them down, cover and let stand at least on hour in the refrigerator or up to 2 days in advance.
In a small bowl mash roasted garlic cloves and a pinch of salt with a fork. Add the yogurt to the bowl and stir well to combine. taste and add another mashed garlic clove and pinch of salt if desired. Set aside
Cut sweet potatoes lengthwise into 1/4″ slices (there should be 2 full sized slices per sandwich) Toss with enough olive oil (about 2 TBSP) to coat each slice and season with salt and pepper. Place slices directly on the grill, 3 minutes on each side on a high heat grill, or until nice grill marks appear, Turning once. Remove from grill and set aside. Cut the La Brea Bakery Ciabatta rolls in half, separating the top and bottom. Place each half on a medium heat grill and grill each side 2-3 minutes or until the tops and bottoms are nicely golden brown with dark grill marks, ensuring the middle stays soft to the touch, turn once. Remove from heat
To assembly the sandwiches. Thinly slice the red onion. Peel the cucumber and then cut in half across the middle. Cut each half into length wise strips, about 1/8″ thick. Lay out the 8 bottoms of the La Brea Bakery Ciabatta Roll. Place about 2 Tbsp of the roasted garlic yogurt sauce on each, then layer the two grilled sweet potato slices on top of the yogurt sauce. Place a good pinch of sprouts on top of the sweet potatoes and the slices of cucumber and red onion on top of that. Next layer on two pieces of red leaf lettuce, folded or torn if necessary to stay within the lines of the sandwich, then add a good pinch of the pickled carrot slices on top of the lettuce and a few dill fronds on top of the carrots. Place to top of the La Brea Bakery Ciabatta roll on top of the dill, give a little press down to ensure everything is in place. Wrap in parchment sandwich bags if desired. Serve immediately or store in the fridge up to 3 hours before serving