Monday, 22 October 2012

Spinach and roasted pumpkin sandwich

In the Indian context sandwiches are considered a snack. One that you can whip up in minutes if you have the chutney. Typically a sandwich is just a couple of slices of pure white bread (preferably with the crust trimmed off!!) with green corriander chutney and butter in between and a few measly slices of tomatoes, cucumber, onions and boiled potato. With a good appetite you can easily polish off 5-6 triangles and then some more.
Subway managed to introduce the solid and substantial western of the sandwich. However they have managed to only reach out to a fairly upward crowd and their sandwiches are exclusively referred to as Subway with clear opposition (and rightly so) to the "Indian Sandwich".

Here is one sandwich recipe which attempts like Subway an acceptance of "The Sandwich" as a meal. The preparation is also as elaborate as you would reckon for a meal. The ingredients list for this sandwich:
-Whole wheat sandwich bread (preferably home made, I have a posted a recipe already)
- Pumpkin 300 gm
- Cheese - as much as you like and the kind you like. I used Parmesan.
- Green peppers - 2 Nos. (any colour actually)
- Garlic - 2-3 cloves
- Red chilli flakes or Chilli oil
- Basil leaves - 8-10 leaves
- Cream - 1 Tbsp (optional)
- Olive oil
- Salt

The recipe has three parts: veggies and cheese, dressing and the bread. If you are not using chilli oil, start with the dressing. Mix the chilli flakes in about a tablespoon of olive oil and keep aside. We will come back to this later. Chilli oil is just olive oil with chilli flakes soaking in it for a couple of days or more, so the oil gets infused with the spice.
Now we being with the vegetables and cheese part. Peel and chop the pumpkin in 1/2 cm thick slices i.e. really thin. Just quarter the green peppers, you want longish broad slices. Put the pumpkin and peppers in a roasting pan, drizzle some olive oil, sprinkle some salt and pop it into an oven at 180 degrees celsius. (Pre-heating or semi-pre-heating is good, I never bothered in which case it takes a little longer).
While the vegetables roast, prepare the spinach. Trim he roots and the tough stems and chop roughly. Put a little oil or butter in a pot and add the spinach. On low heat, the greens will take 2-3 mins to wilt and release a lot of water. Cook the spinach through, but save about a tablespoon of the water. Grate cheese and keep aside.
Start dressing. To the chilli oil or the olive oil with chili flakes add crushed garlic cloves and about 4-5 finely chopped basil leaves and mix well. Add the cream if using, the spinach water and mix again- the dressing is ready.
Bread: Lightly toast the bread slices dry. Brown them only slightly. Very stiffly toasted slices of bread don't make good sandwiches.
We are now good to assembles the sandwiches if the vegetables in the oven are done. Check on them in the oven. Remember to give them a stir half way through their roasting time (somewhere around the time you wait for the spinach to wilt). The pumpkin slices would be a nice golden brown when done.
Take two slices of bread, spread some of the dressing on them. Place some spinach followed by cheese, pumpkin slices, one whole leaf of basil and finally two long slices of the peppers. Close your sandwich. Enjoy your meal. If the bread used is home made, I bet you will finish your meal with two of these sandwiches.