Lenten Pane Gourmet

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Posted on June 21, 2011 at 6:02 PM

 

1 loaf garlic cheese bread, frozen
½ cup extra virgin olive oil
1 bag fresh spinach, prewashed and trimmed
½ tsp. Frank Davis Vegetable Seasoning
1 small eggplant, thinly sliced
½ tsp. Frank Davis Sicilian Seasoning
1 large Portabella mushroom, thinly sliced
½ tsp. Frank Davis Sprinkling Spice
1 medium tomato, thinly sliced
1 tsp. fresh ground black pepper
½ cup feta cheese, crumbled
½ cup pepper jack cheese, shredded
¼ cup Parmesan cheese, shredded
½ cup black olives, pitted


 

 

 

First heat the garlic bread according to package directions (most say to preheat the oven to 450 degrees, remove the bread from its wrapper, place it open face on a cookie sheet, and bake the halves for about 10-12 minutes until they are heated all the way through and just slightly becoming crispy). Two things to note though: (1) keep an eye on the oven so that you don't burn the bread, and (2) if your bread directions differ from the above, then follow your directions. Of course, it should go without saying that you should use the highest quality garlic bread you can find.

 

Now while the bread is heating, begin the sandwich making process:

1-In a grill pan, pour in a scant amount of olive oil and bring it to medium-high heat. In the meantime, using a pastry brush, coat the eggplant slices with a little extra olive oil and sprinkle on a light coating of the Sicilian seasoning. When the pan reaches temperature, drop in the slices and cook them quickly (about 2 minutes on each side) until slightly browned and softened.

2-At the same time you're doing the eggplant, pour a scant amount of olive oil in a second grill pan and bring it to medium-high heat as well. In the meantime, using a pastry brush, coat the Portabella mushroom slices with a little extra olive oil and sprinkle on a light coating of the Sprinkling Spice. When the pan reaches temperature, drop in the slices and cook them quickly (about 3 minutes on each side) until slightly browned and softened.

3-At the same time you're doing the eggplant and the mushrooms, pour about 2 tablespoons of olive oil into a 12-inch non-stick skillet and bring it to medium-high heat. Then when the skillet reaches temperature, open the bag of spinach, add its entire contents to the skillet, and begin tossing the leaves over and over to thoroughly coat each one. Then lightly season them with a scant amount of sprinkling spice and stir fry the spinach quickly (it will take only about 3 minutes tops to wilt and tenderize the leaves).

At this point, remove the bread from the oven and begin "building" the sandwich. On one half of the hot bread brush on a little extra olive oil; then layer on the eggplant slices, the mushroom slices, the tomato slices, and the spinach. The on the other half of the bread, brush on a little extra olive oil then sprinkle on the black pepper, the crumbled feta, the pepper jack, the Parmesan and the black olives. The secret to reaching maximum flavor in this dish is to evenly layer in all the ingredients.

When you're ready to eat, gently fuse both bread halves together; then position them so that one rests atop the other. Finally, very carefully push the finished loaf downward, thereby compressing two halves into one, and immediately slice the loaf on a bias into individual servings. A tall glass of chilled iced tea or a glass of zinfandel wine makes an ideal accompaniment.

Chef's Hints

If you would like to make the entire sandwich from scratch using French bread or whole wheat, you will have to first liberally brush the bread halves with olive oil, sprinkle on some garlic powder or finely creamed roasted garlic, and scatter on a few pinches of minced parsley. The remainder of the sandwich goes together is directed in the recipe.

If you prefer to eliminate some ingredients or add others, feel free to do so. The only thing you need to keep in mind is to make whatever goes into the creation compatible and complimentary to all the other ingredients.

If you can't find my seasonings and spices where you shop, you can order them on line from this website. Just click on the link on the recipe page. In the meantime, however, you can substitute a light touch of salt, black pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, thyme, basil, and oregano in a pinch.


 

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