This weekend, it happened: I pulled my tomato plants out. And my basil plants.
‘Tis a sad day for my lovely summer garden. After a bout of cold weather and rain last week, heralding in the first days of fall, I finally had to give up on the dream of ‘one more batch of pesto’ or a new batch of slow-roasted tomatoes coming out of my oven every day.
I have to admit, I’m one of those annoying Fall People who secretly loves rain and scarves and stuff- but it still stung to tear out all those beautiful vines from my garden. Things just look so empty now.
Sure, there are cold weather harvests… squash, apples, kale, chard. It’s not really the same, though. Try as I might, a bushel of chard is never going to get me quite as revved up as a Caprese Salad, still warm from the sun.
Still, I made the best out of my summer bounty, eating as much as I could fresh from the garden and preserving the rest. My freezer is full of pesto and slow roasted tomatoes.
I adore slow-roasted tomatoes. I could put them on everything. I do put them on everything, in fact. Everything is made better by adding a few of these punchy little treats- breakfast burritos, soups, pizzas, salads, pastas, pies, sandwiches.
I have preached the good word of the Slow Roasted Tomato to everyone I know.
It’s so great when these things come back to you.
In the first weeks after my daughter was born, my mother-in-law would come over to make me lunch and give me some newborn-relief (Guardian Angel duty).
I can credit this excellent combo to her. She would come armed with various goodies and, more than once, made me this sandwich (or something closely approximating it).
So simple. So delicious. Happiness is someone making a sandwich for you when you don’t have the strength or time to make one yourself. That’s love, my friends. All the better if it’s one as delicious as this.
Perfectly balanced, this sandwich offers some bold flavours to help ring in the new season. Summer produce given a fall upgrade. Sweet and sour tomatoes, smoky eggplant, fresh and peppery arugula, creamy goat cheese- all bound together with a hearty, nutty slice of bread. Not only does having a sturdy slice hold up to the wetter elements of the sandwich (eggplant, tomatoes), but the seeds provide an amazing textural element that is not to be missed. If you’ve got something with a bit of rye flour in it, all the better. Hoooooo, now that is a sandwich.
Serve with a hot cup of tea or coffee, or an equally bold stout or porter (my current favourite is the Beam Me Up Espresso Milk Stout from one of our local breweries, Fuggles & Warlock. It features Saltspring Coffee and is the perfect sipper for a rainy Sunday).
|Balsamic Eggplant, Slow Roasted Tomato & Goat Cheese Sandwich|| |
- 1 small eggplant or 3 baby eggplants
- ½ a batch slow roasted tomatoes (roughly 3 large tomatoes or 6 small)*
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- 2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
- Salt and pepper
- 4 slices of hearty, seedy multi-grain bread
- 75 g goat cheese
- Fresh arugula leaves (optional)
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or a silpat mat.
- Slice eggplant lengthwise in ¼ inch slices and place on baking sheet. In a small bowl, whisk together olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Brush over eggplant. Salt and pepper eggplant. Bake for 10 minutes, flip eggplant and brush with more of the balsamic mixture. Bake for an additional 10 minutes then remove from oven to cool.
- Lightly toast the slices of bread. Sprinkle a healthy layer of goat cheese over two of the slices. Top with a layer of tomatoes, followed by a layer of eggplant, arugula (if using) and finishing with the remaining slices of bread. Serve immediately, sliced (with soup if you're feeling extra ambitious, or all on it's own).