In addition to fresh local produce, one the most pleasing aspects of summertime dining is taking dinner outdoors. The season is too short not to be enjoyed.
Sandwiches are wonderful for hot days as you don’t have to generate much heat in the kitchen to come up with a satisfying meal. This one steps things up a notch and graces your patio with some gourmet flair and finesse. This is not your ordinary soggy sandwich served up on inferior quality bleached-out sugar-laden bread.
Here we have lightly toasted fresh garlic rubbed ciabatta bread with broiled brie cheese and a sun-dried tomato pesto and lightly dressed mixed greens. Don’t forget the olives, as they add an essential element to the whole sandwich experience in this instance.
Toasted Ciabatta Sandwich with Brie, Sun-Dried Tomatoes and Pesto
For the Pesto:
- 1/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes, soaked in hot water for 20 – 30 minutes and finely chopped
- generous 1/2 cup fresh basil leaves
- 1/4 cup olive oil
For the Dressing:
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- juice from 1 small lemon
- 1 teaspoon champagne or rice vinegar
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- fresh cracked black pepper to taste
- 1 medium ciabatta loaf (or a french baguette or any other crusty bread), sliced in half lengthwise
- 1 small clove of garlic, split
- 1/2 pound brie cheese, rind removed and cut into 1/4 inch strips
- 5 cups mixed greens
- 1/2 cup black olives, pitted and sliced
Soak the sun-dried tomatoes in hot water for 20 to 30 minutes, then drain and finely chop.
In a mortar and pestle, crush the basil leaves and sun-dried tomatoes with the olive oil to make a moist paste. Set aside for at least 1 hour so the flavours blend.
Whisk together the dressing ingredients in a small bowl and set aside.
Lightly toast the bread and rub with the split garlic clove. Top the bread with the sliced brie and broil until the cheese begins to bubble and brown. Spoon the pesto on to both halves of the bread and add some of the greens. Put the halves together to make a sandwich. Using a serrated knife, slice the sandwich into diagonal portions.
To complete the meal, toss the remaining salad greens with the dressing and transfer to serving plates. Top with a sandwich or two, and scatter with the sliced olives.
Makes 1 large sandwich or 2 to 4 servings
Other summer meals to enjoy on the patio: