Wednesday, 4 February 2015

Roll On!

Panini alla Piastra con Melanzane, Peperone, Feta, Ajvar, Ciliegini, Menta & Timo
Grilled Eggplant & Pepper Rolls, with Cherry Tomatoes, Feta, Ajvar, Mint & Thyme


Sometimes, you get home from work a little late, are a little tired, a little hungry and it is one of those "damned if I do and damned if I don't" situations, when you can either buckle down and COOK something, and cop-out and either make a sandwich- or get on the phone and order something to be delivered!

BUT... you know that the chances are not very high of me ordering something to be delivered, right? It may be easy- but it's never really good... and what is the point and where is the fun in that?


Do you have a a grill in your kitchen? Lucky you- you will have these finished a little quicker than I did if you do! But even with a simple grill frying-pan, you can make these delicious toasted and grilled rolls, simple little vegetarian feasts that they are, in 20-30 minutes. Sounds like a good idea, no? It sure did to me! And it was well worth the effort!


Each roll took just 1 thick slice of eggplant and a sliver or pepper, a few slices of cherry tomato and a teaspoon of Ajvar, a little Feta cheese and some fresh mint and thyme, salt, pepper and olive oil... and there's no more that you need to know than that!

If you have those ingredients, go get that pan, or grill nice and hot, toast up the rolls first of all- and let me tell you what to do with the rest in the meantime!


Yeah- it DOES kinda look incredibly delicious, doesn't it? And that's due to the fact that it IS kinda incredibly delicious! And you better believe it!


Obviously, the eggplant needs to be sliced- about 1" thick is perfect, the pepper? Simply cut the sides away from the seeds in the center- 1,2,3,4 cuts- and you're done!

The cherry tomato gets sliced, the rolls get set to one side now they are brown- and you can get started on that eggplant and those peppers!


Brush the eggplant and pepper slices very lightly in olive oil, set them onto the hot pan (or grill) and let them sit still for 2-3 minutes. After that time, press them down firmly using a wooden spoon, until the eggplant kind of "wheezes" as it gives off the moisture that is building-up inside it as a little blast of steam and the peppers begin to scorch, sizzle and pop.

Flip them over and repeat the same procedure. They won't get very brown, very fast and you will find you need to flip them over and continue pressing and browning for a good 10 minutes, but eventually they will soften up, they will turn nice and brown- and they will end up looking as delicious as this!

Wait until the end to season them with salt and pepper, turn off your grill- and get ready to assemble those beautiful rolls... all the hard work has been done!


Lay the tomato slices out on the rolls first, so that you can season them with salt and pepper, then add the mint leaves, a light sprinkle of Feta cheese and the grilled pepper slice on top.


Next comes the eggplant slice, which you should press down firmly on top, slightly squashing everything together- and ultimately helping to hold those toppings in place!


A nice teaspoon of spicy Ajvar will add some richness and depth to the lovely fresh flavors of the vegetables- and of course goes wonderfully with the Feta cheese, mint and thyme as well as the eggplant... somethings were just meant to be!


A final sprinkle of Feta, a scattering of fresh thyme and a few drops of olive oil- these are the last finishing touches before you are ready to serve- and to enjoy!


Wouldn't these be great for a party spread? You betcha they would! Colorful, tasty, healthy and easy, they are inexpensive and bound to please!


A little bit of sunshine for a dark Winter evening- oh yes- they were that for sure!

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