Since I had some questions about the carrot sandwich from Saturday’s feast on Bainbridge Island, I figured I would share that recipe before I treat you to the quinoa salad (and yes, quinoa can be a treat).
I found this recipe in the neglected and rarely used sandwich section of my cooking notebooks. In case you are new here, my cooking notebooks house all the magazine recipes that I have cut and pasted since the early 90′s. If there was a fire in our house, I would save my family first, then my guitar, then my notebooks. Any cookbook can be replaced but my four notebooks can not. The sandwich sections of my notebook houses only about 15 recipes, many of which I have never tried.
In general, I have a problem with sandwiches. We eat lunch out a lot and I find that, when there is a vegetarian sandwich available on a menu, it is something so blah and boring that I only order it if there is absolutely nothing else for me to eat. Or, on the other end of the spectrum, it has 12 kinds of roasted vegetables, and 12 kinds of gooey condiments all smooshed together on oily foccacia. Why would I want to eat something with so many different flavors and textures that I can’t distinguish any of them? And why would I want to eat a Big Mac’s calorie equivalent and pretend it’s healthy?
In the perfect imaginary restaurant I would open – the one where I would show up for work at 10am and leave for home at 3pm- we would only serve lunch but it would be the best lunch in the city. We would have nourishing soups, refreshing and interesting salads, and complex sandwiches that would always come with a delicious side. (Another thing I hate about sandwiches in restaurants is that it’s all you get – I want more flavors in my lunch.) This sandwich, and the one from the previous post, would be on the menu.
Originally this recipe called for goat cheese but I was already using goat cheese on the other sandwich and I also wanted to have a vegan option. Because the spices in the carrots are of the North African variety, I figured hummus would work just fine and it did. In fact, I think it probably worked better than goat cheese would, although you could certainly use that if you wanted. Also, the original recipe is for 6 sandwiches on regular bread. If you choose to make it on a ciabatta bread as I did, you will most likely have leftover carrots and leftover tapenade which, in my book, is never a bad thing. I would spread the tapenade on crostini (maybe with some soft goat cheese underneath) and serve with a spinach salad starring the leftover carrots.
You will need an adjustable blade slicer of some sort to slice the carrots because you want them about 1/16th of an inch thick. Years ago, I bought a fancy mandoline and I was so terrified of it that I only used it once. When I heard that a friend was going to buy one for her husband’s birthday, I offered to trade them mine for their cheap plastic one that has a ceramic blade. It’s actually less safe than the other one (there is no finger guard) but much easier to use. If you don’t have one, you could just use your knife and slice them as thinly as possible, then allow them a longer swim in the boiling water.
One year ago: THE Lemon Tart
Moroccan Carrot and Hummus Sandwiches with Green Olive Tapenade
Inspired by Gourmet Magazine
I used store-bought hummus for this recipe and just slathered it on the bread – I’m not sure exactly how much I used – do it to your taste. Also, if you are looking to streamline this recipe, you could use store-bought tapenade.
2 tbsp. sugar
1 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
2 tsp. sweet paprika
1 tsp. ground cumin
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. cayenne
1 tsp. salt
1/4 cup olive oil
1 1/2 lb. carrots
1 1/4 cups green olives (6-7 oz.) such as Cerignola or picholine, pitted
1/4 cup flat leaf parsley
1 tsp. finely grated lemon zest
1 1/2 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1 ciabatta loaf, halved cross-wise
Whisk together the sugar, lemon juice, spices, salt and oil in a large bowl until the sugar is dissolved. Halve the carrots on a long diagonal, then, starting from diagonal ends, cut into 1/16-inch thick slices using slicer. Cook carrots ina 4 to 5 quart pot of boiling salted water until cresp-tender, about 45 seconds. Drain well in a colander and immediately toss with dressing. Cool to room temperature, stirring occasionally, then marinate, covered and chilled, at least 4 hours. (Carrots can marinate for up to 2 days.)
Make tapenade and assemble sandwich:
Pulse olives with capers, parsley, zest, lemon juice, and pepper in a food processor until coarsely chopped, then scrape down side of bowl with a rubber spatula. Pulsing motor, add oil in a slow steam and continue to pulse until mixture is finely chopped (do not pulse to a paste). (Tapenade can be made up to 1 week in advance. Cover and refrigerate.)
Spread tapenade on one side of the ciabatta. Spread hummus on other side. Lay carrots thickly on bottom slice then sandwich with top. Using a sharp serrated knife, carefully cut the sandwich into 6 slices.